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Mon, 6 July 2020

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By Andrew McQuillan
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Tories urged to suspend local party branch over Islamophobia claims

Tories urged to suspend local party branch over Islamophobia claims
2 min read

The Conservatives have been urged to suspend a local party branch after a senior official quit amid allegations of Islamophobia.


Kyle Pedley stood down as deputy chair of Stourbridge Conservative Association over comments made during a local election selection meeting in October.

He told the BBC he was left "aghast" by remarks from his fellow associations members after one would-councillor was interviewed.

Mr Pedley said: "As soon as his two-minute pitch ended, he was faced with a barrage of questioning which was factored around one thing and one thing alone, and that was his religion and his race.

"It was 'Are you really a Muslim? Do you pray five times a day? How many times a year do you go to the mosque?'"

He added: "When he went out of the room the first topic of conversation was not about his merit, it was along the lines of 'do we need an Asian?'"

Mr Pedley said he complained about the incident to Conservative Party bosses.

Harun Khan, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the local association "must be suspended immediately whilst an investigation takes place" 

"This is yet another example demonstrating how the Conservative Party has proven itself to be fertile breeding ground for Islamophobia," he said. "What more needs to happen for the party to acknowledge the problem?"

A Conservative Party spokesperson told the BBC: "The Conservative Party will never stand by when it comes to prejudice and discrimination of any kind. Serious allegations such as these are always investigated thoroughly, which is testament to the seriousness with which we take such issues.

"Our complaints process is rightly a confidential one and there are a wide range of sanctions including suspension and expulsion which are applied on a case-by-case basis."

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