Labour candidate John Cowan suspended over online messages

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Indy Politics

Labour has suspended its parliamentary candidate in South East Cambridgeshire over allegations that he posted "unacceptable" messages online, it was revealed today.

John Cowan reportedly left comments on motoring and dating websites in which he admitted illegally paying his cleaner cash-in-hand.

He also boasted about his sexual exploits, and said he would not want his children to marry a Muslim, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

A Labour Party spokeswoman confirmed today that Mr Cowan had been dropped.

"The allegations that came to light after nominations closed are totally unacceptable and well below what the party expects of our candidates," she said.

"The general secretary of the Labour Party has suspended the candidate from the Labour Party and we are taking action to ensure he is never again a Labour candidate.

"The Labour Party's relevant committees will be asked to consider whether he should be expelled from the Labour Party."

South East Cambridgeshire is a Tory stronghold, which returned James Paice with a majority of nearly 9,000 at the last general election.

Mr Cowan was expelled from the Liberal Democrats in 2004 in connection with "inappropriate" online posts.

His personal website features photographs of him giving a speech at the 2008 Labour Party conference, and shaking hands with deputy leader Harriet Harman.

His official profile has now been taken down from the Labour homepage, but a previous version available on the internet states that he had served as member of the Labour East Regional Board and "is chair of a local council".

"Currently John is single with no children," it adds.

Mr Cowan was said to have left messages over a series of years on motoring forum PistonHeads and the dating site PlentyOfFis, under the names "John75" and "Racingdude009".

In a post about his cleaner's wages, he reportedly wrote: "Its (sic) a cash in hand job so she does not have any Income Tax or National Insurance (sic) on it and both her and her boyfriend live on benefits so they are quids in."

Elsewhere he allegedly stated: "Whilst I would not be happy if my future son or daughter wanted to date a Muslim it would be there (sic) decision at the end of the day."

He also apparently appealed on one forum for "some people to pose nude for me".

Writing on his blog last November, Mr Cowan wrote: "As a pagan I do not believe in exclusive relationships between couples, a more plural approach is healthier than years of unhappiness with all the heartache and stress."