EXCL Tories slammed after activist suspended for Islamophobia allowed to stand as council candidate
The Conservatives have come under fire for allowing an activist previously suspended for making "vile" Islamophobic comments to stand as a council candidate.
Peter Lamb, who also ran for the party in a 2017 council by-election in Harlow, was disciplined after a series of comments he made on social media about Muslims came to light.
In 2015, Mr Lamb tweeted: “Islam like alcoholism [sic]. The first step to recovery is admit you have a problem."
In a further post the same year, he said: “Turkey buys oil from ISIS. Muslims sticking together.”
He added: “Do they want us to call ISIS Daesh now so that we don’t associate them with Islam?”
A Conservative Party spokesperson said that Mr Lamb had apologised for the remarks and was suspended from the party following an investigation by his local association before later being re-admitted.
He will again seek election to Harlow District Council for the Coservatives at the local elections in May.
Former Tory co-chair Baroness Warsi told PoliticsHome the incident was proof that Islamophobia had become “institutional” within the party.
“It is appalling that a man suspended for Islamophobic comments just two years ago has been re-admitted and allowed to stand as a candidate," she said. "Giving him what his local party chair calls a 'slap on the wrist' shows again this is not an issue confined to individuals but one that has gripped in the institution.”
The Tory peer added: “I have been raising these issues for over 3 years and yet still the Party fails to act. We now have daily examples of the most vile racist and Islamophobic comments from both elected representatives and members and still the Party remains in denial.
“And whilst the comments and actions of individuals are disturbing what’s even more hurtful and worrying is my Party’s complete lack of political will to even acknowledge the extent of the challenge we face. This rot is institutional and it’s why I have been urging the Prime Minister and others to hold an Independent Inquiry.”
Mr Lamb was approached for comment.
Speaking to PoliticsHome, Harlow Conservative chairman Clive Souter described the punishment he had handed down to Mr Lamb as a “slap on the wrist”.
Mr Souter said the Tory candidate’s comments had been aimed at extremists and that Mr Lamb had “missed out the word radical" in his posts on Islam.