Conservative candidate quits over comments about foodbanks and feminism
The Conservatives have been forced to drop a candidate in a marginal seat candidate over a series of social media posts he made about foodbanks and feminism.
Antony Calvert stepped down as the party's candidate for Wakefield after he claimed his offensive social media posts had created a "distraction" from the election.
The party had already placed Mr Calvert's candidacy "under review" earlier this week after TalkRadio revealed social media posts in which he described London as "Londistan" and suggested former Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi should have "fled to Bradford" where he would have gone unrecognised.
But Mr Calvert decided to step away from the contest after further Facebook posts, found by the Sunday Times, showed the MP hopeful had claimed he was keen to get into public office in order to expose "ludicrous" claims about food poverty.
In the now-deleted post, he wrote: "If there was ever a reason to want to be involved in public office it is to show the ludicrous nature of those like this guy who claim 'food poverty' in the UK whilst many millions around the world would give anything to be in their place."
In another post ahead of the 2015 general election, Mr Calvert took aim at Labour's Harriet Harman, telling her to stop "banging on about wholly and utterly irrelevant feminist issues".
In a statement, Mr Calvert said: "I am not prepared to countenance a situation where the Conservative Party is even marginally distracted from the key themes of the election. My sole ambition in politics has been to return a Conservative MP for Wakefield that can make an authentic and last contribution for my home city in Parliament.
"If my continuing in this role will jeopardise this at all then I have concluded that I must stand down.
"This is a difficult decision for me but I am very grateful to the national and local party for all their support. It goes without saying that I wish the new candidate well."
Labour candidate Mary Creagh, who won the seat in 2017 by just over 2,100 votes, said: "It raises serious questions about why they tolerated his abhorrent views on race, women, and poor people for so long.
"Will the next candidate they parachute in be any better? Don’t hold your breath."