A Conservative election candidate was suspended tonight after being accused of trying to choreograph a fake demonstration outside a mosque with the help of former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.
Afzal Amin, a former Army captain who served in Afghanistan, then planned to emerge as a community saviour by publicly stopping the protest, according to a secret taped conversations published by The Mail on Sunday.
The recordings relate to a meeting in an Indian restaurant in Birmingham on Monday night between Mr Amin and Mr Robinson, as well EDL chairman Steve Eddowes, and a subsequent phone call.
The newspaper’s transcripts allegedly record Mr Amin, who was standing for the Tories in Dudley North, a key marginal constituency at May’s general election, saying: “If you could announce it [the march] for May 2, which is the last Saturday before the election, maybe they’ll get really upset and worked up and then about two weeks before that we do a press conference and we say we’re not doing... well, YOU say you’re not doing the demonstration. Everyone is very, very happy. EDL have become reasonable… Afzal Amin to deliver the resolution.”
In another part of the transcript, he is recorded adding: “This is my fantasy. If I could demonstrate to the people in Dudley that I can be a positive voice for community cohesion, for development, for campaigning against the evils and the terrorism and the child grooming and all the rest of it, then that would help me a lot in the forthcoming election.” He is also accused of appealing to the EDL to help drum up support for his campaign, adding in the transcript: “I would love to arrive in Parliament and say, I won this seat because [of] you 3,000 white working class English voters that have never voted before... if you manage to pull this off and I arrive in.”
After an emergency meeting last night, Tory chairman Grant Shapps moved to suspend Mr Amin. A party spokesman said: “Following an emergency meeting, it has been decided to suspend him as a candidate with immediate effect. The Conservative Party views this as a matter of extremely serious concern.”
In pictures: Embarrassing political exits
In pictures: Embarrassing political exits
1/9 Mark Harper
Immigration minister Mark Harper resigned after emerged his cleaner was in the country illegally. Mr Harper quit after he discovered his cleaner, whom he employed at his London flat for seven years, did not have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
2/9 Mark Menzies
Former Conservative MP Mark Menzies resigned as a ministerial aide following allegations made by a Brazilian rent boy in March. The MP for Fylde in Lancashire resigned his position as the parliamentary private secretary (PPS) amid allegations which appeared in a tabloid newspaper, which he strenuously denied.
3/9 Liam Fox
Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox resigned in 2011 over his working relationship with his friend Adam Werritty, which saw the Tory MP ordered to repay £3,000 of expenses for allowing Mr Werritty to live rent-free at his taxpayer-funded second home for a year. Mr Fox faced further embarrassment when it was revealed successfully claimed 3p of taxpayers’ cash for a car journey of fewer than 100 metres.
4/9 Denis MacShane
Labour MP for Rotherham Denis MacShane resigned over what a parliamentary enquiry described as “the gravest case of misconduct” ever to be investigated at the time. The ex-Europe Minister was jailed for six months after making false expense claims of nearly £13,000. The former MP previously pleaded guilty to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for “research and translation” services. MacShane, 65, used the money to fund a series of trips to Europe, including one to judge a literary competition in Paris.
5/9 Patrick Mercer
Patrick Mercer resigned the Tory whip in May last year after he was filmed by the BBC's 'Panorama' apparently agreeing to lobby on behalf of Fiji for a pro-Fijian cross-party committee.
6/9 Michael Martin
Former Labour party MP Michael Martin became the first Commons Speaker to be forced out of office for more than 300 years following criticism of his handling of the MP’s expenses scandal of 2009.
7/9 Jacqui Smith
Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith stood down in the cabinet reshuffle amid a flurry of controversy after the MPs expenses scandal revealed her husband Richard Timney, who also ran her constituency office, had watched two pay-per-view adult movies which had then, unknown to her, been subject to a claim for reimbursement. The ‘porn scandal’ not only saw the former Labour MP Ms Smith, who was the first female Home Secretary, eventually resign but also saw her lose her back bench position in May 2010.
8/9 Sir Peter Viggers
Sir Peter Viggers also found himself caught up in the MPs expenses scandal when The Daily Telegraph reported that the Conservative Party Member had attempted to claim for a pond feature identified as a floating duck island, although this was notoriously rejected. The Gosport MP said he would repay £10,000 in claims for garden maintenance and repairs and agreed to stand down at the next election.
9/9 Prime Minister David Cameron
David Cameron gave his shock resignation in … wait, no he didn’t. Wales Online were forced to apologise after a story that the government was rocked by news the PM had quit was used in a “training exercise” but went live on the internet by accident before it was quickly pulled.
Tonight, Mr Amin told The Independent on Sunday: “The Mail on Sunday have provided small snippets of over 57 hours of meetings between members of the Dudley Muslim community, the leadership of the EDL, Tommy Robinson and me. For the past year, I have been undertaking discussions with Tommy Robinson and more recently with the leadership of the EDL to prevent further inter-communal tensions and violence. I recognised that there was an opportunity to promote better community cohesion between various communities in Dudley and that this may serve as a model for further dispute resolution in other towns and cities.“The EDL marched in Dudley in February 2015, despite our best efforts to stop this. The march cost UK tax payers £1m, and there was no way that I wanted this to happen again. I continued my engagement with Tommy Robinson to prevent another march. There was an opportunity for me to use my experience as a strategist in Kandahar by getting people to talk face to face and then recount to their communities what was discussed and that a settlement was agreed.”
He added: “It’s a shame that it seems Tommy Robinson has been seduced by money to launch this attack on me. He is a convicted fraudster and has a salacious appetite for money, which has seen him snub a real job and opt for the spreading of hatred during his long, one year sting operation.”Reuse content