Blackburn Tory Councillor Altaf ‘Tiger’ Patel was suspended, and has subsequently resigned, after attending an anti-Israel rally.
Councillor Patel had helped to promote the pro-Palestine, anti-Israel event in the city centre, before going on to deliver a speech to those in attendance.
During this speech, the Councillor announced his resignation.
“With a heavy heart and deep sense of moral duty, I write to tender my resignation from the Conservative Party, an organisation I have been a member of, for a significant part of my life,” he told the large crowd.
“My deepest and most pressing concern pertains to the party’s unflinching endorsement of unconditional support of Israel, a stance which demonstrates a complete lack of nuance and sensitivity to the protracted suffering of the Palestinian people.”
“The Conservative Party’s apparent disregard for the realities on the ground and its implicit support of policies that amount to collective punishment, is nothing short of a grave and horrifying humanitarian crisis that I can no longer ignore. It bears a striking resemblance to a situation that I could be aptly described as genocide.
“The Conservative Party, which I once thought of to be a beacon of righteousness has instead chosen a path of moral bankruptcy on the issue.”
Cllr Patel’s claims have already been widely debunked, with it being a fact that Israel has not carried out any form of genocide, and the Conservative Party long opposing such acts.
During his speech, the councillor did not mention nor condemn Palestinian terrorist group Hamas nor its intentional murdering of a large number of civilians.
Last weekend the terrorist organization carried out a series of war crimes against innocent Israelis, storming into Israel, executing civilians, and kidnapping a number of men, women and children.
Failing to contact the Blackburn Conservatives for comment, local newspaper the Lancashire Telegraph – viewed by many as being a publication heavily biased in favour of the left-wing – falsely reported that the Councillor had simply resigned in protest against the Conservative Party’s stance on Gaza, unintentionally, perhaps, hiding from voters the fact that his decision was influenced by his suspension from the party earlier in the day.
Cllr Patel had been warned that should he attend the event and read out a speech, he would be suspended. Choosing not to heed this warning, Patel attended the event and prepared to a speech. Upon discovering this, he was suspended by his local Conservative branch – possibly then adapting his speech to include an announcement of resignation.
Speaking to VoteWatch, both the Chairman of the Blackburn Conservatives, Julian Arnold, and the branch’s Deputy Chairman, Rick Moore, issued the following statement:
“At 13:45 this afternoon, (Sunday 15th October), Cllr Patel was suspended on the grounds that his views were not compatible with the views of the Government or with being a member of the Conservative Party. Unfortunately, Cllr Patel on hearing about his suspension then took the decision to resign rather than work with us through the due process of the party.
“We will be making no further comment, and we consider the matter closed.”
Cllr Patel, who has represented the Audley and Queen’s Park Ward since 2021, said he would remain as an independent councillor.
He is not the only Councillor to have been suspended in recent weeks over their support for Palestine or for anti-Israel sentiments.
Labour councillor Mohammed Irfan had shared a post by a constituent downplaying the terrorist acts against innocent Israelis, and falsely claiming that they only took place over ‘a few hours’.
“Wall-to-wall coverage of Israelis experiencing for a few hours what Palestinians have continuously experienced decade after decade is incredibly telling about the discrepancy in the value of human life in our corporate news,” the post read.
Shockingly, going one step further, Cllr Irfan, who represents Billinge and Beardwood, then shared and ‘liked’ a post calling for the Pakistani army to join Hamas/Palestine in fighting Israel.
VoteWatch found that Cllr Irfan had previously posted other controversial comments on social media, including one Facebook post calling for someone to be shot in the head.
Leader of the Labour-run Blackburn with Darwen Council Cllr Phil Riley has since confirmed that Cllr Irfan has been suspended, with an investigation now underway.
“Yet another concerning incident in the long litany of anti-semitism within Blackburn Labour,” the Blackburn Conservatives Chairman told Votewatch. “It is time for the national labour leadership and Sir Keir Starmer to take action not just words against these people in his party”.
However, this isn’t the first time that the Blackburn Labour Party has been embroiled in an antisemitism scandal.
Last year, a Labour Councillor who called Jews ‘murderers’ and claimed Israel created ISIS, was readmitted into the party despite continuing to share anti-Jewish comments online, VoteWatch exclusively revealed.
Councillor Tasleem Fazal from Blackburn and Darwen Council was suspended in 2020 after a video emerged on social media in which he was heard hurling a barrage of abuse at Jewish protestors.
Councillor Yusuf Jan-Virmani, who represents the constituency’s Audley and Queen’s Park ward, was suspended from the Labour Party after using his slot at a council meeting to make stereotypical claims about Israelis.
Calling Israel’s elected officials a “right-wing extremist government”, Cllr Jan-Virmani went on to say:
“Mr Mayor, councillors – I am not aware of any animal that is so cruel as the Israelis. Not even crocodiles. They bomb schools day and night… hospitals, they bomb them – they flatten them.
“They kidnap the kids and harvest their organs… that’s been proven. That’s from the United Nations.”
On the contrary, rather than being ‘proven’, the Labour Councillor’s claims were based on a completely debunked conspiracy theory rooted in antisemitism.