A newly elected councillor has been suspended by the Conservatives pending an investigation over antisemitic social media posts.
Shakeel Hussain – who won a seat on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council – has had the Tory whip removed while an internal party inquiry examines old Facebook posts referring to Israel and “Zionist murderers”.
Jewish News had previously revealed Hussain had been blocked from standing as a Labour candidate in last week’s local elections, but was approved by the Tories.
After he was elected, Stockton Conservative Group leader Tony Riordan had appeared to welcome Hussain as a councillor.
Speaking in the House of Commons, the Labour MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham, said: “On Friday morning, Stockton Conservatives celebrated the election of Shakeel Hussain, despite his published statement that Israelis were ‘Zionist murderers’.”
“He was rejected by the Labour party for his antisemitic views”, Cunningham added, and “appears to have conned” the Tories.
Commons leader Penny Mordaunt said it was a matter for the Conservative party chairman.
“We have a proper process to look at all of these matters,” she told MPs.
Before the local elections, a Conservative spokesperson said: “We do not support the views shared in these social media posts.
“It is too late to remove Mr Hussain from the ballot paper under electoral law, but he would not be allowed to join the Conservative group on the council, if elected, until any investigations had been completed.
Hussain told the BBC he would offer his full assistance to the inquiry.
“Once the investigation is complete I will then consider making a public statement,” he added.
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