UK Tory suspended over alleged plot to fake mosque protest
A CONSERVATIVE election candidate has been suspended 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."
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."