The Conservatives have suspended their candidate in Dudley North after he was accused of trying to do a deal with the English Defence League. Afzal Amin reportedly supported the campaign against the new super Mosque in Dudley, and promised to be their ‘unshakeable ally’ in the House of Commons despite being a Muslim himself.
Whilst the party is said to be furious that he would do a deal with a far right group, his motives have also been questioned. Amin is known to be very close to the former Tory chairman Sayeeda Warsi , and the two meet up regularly.
They also appeared together at the launch of a government funded project that runs lectures about WWI in the Muslim community. The Daily Express reported that Labour had questioned why a company Amin was the sole director of had won the £120k contract, especially as he is not an education expert. He had also been turned down for government funding in the past.
Warsi left the cabinet over Britain’s policy in the Middle East and presided over a “purge of the right” when she was party chairman. She is a firm opponent of the English Defence League, and expects her close allies to follow that lead. Warsi also held at least one private meeting in the House of Lords with Sir Iqbal Sacranie, who has been accused of being involved in UK Action Committee on Islamic Affairs, which ran the UK campaign against the author Salman Rushdie.
The Muslim Council of Britain Watch website claims he said at the time of the campaign: “Death, perhaps, is a bit too easy for him? His mind must be tormented for the rest of his life unless he asks for forgiveness to Almighty Allah.”
Dudley North is one of the most marginal seats in the country with Labour’s Ian Austen holding it with a majority of just 649 votes over the Conservatives. However, polls have shown that Tory support is melting in favour of UKIP as a result of the super Mosque proposal.
Whilst Amin’s motives for the EDL tie up are unclear, he may have courted their backing for purely political reasons, without necessarily agreeing with them in private.
A Conservative party spokesman said: “Following an emergency meeting, it has been decided unanimously to suspend him as a candidate with immediate effect. The Conservative Party views this this as a matter of extremely serious concern.”
Mr Amin was reportedly filmed by former EDL leader Tommy Robinson, who blew the whistle on the plot because he objected to being used as a pawn.