UK Politics

Suspended Tory Afzal Amin likely 'to be removed within days'

Afzal Amin
Image caption Afzal Amin was suspended as a Conservative candidate "with immediate effect"

A suspended Conservative election candidate is likely to be removed from the party within days, a senior Conservative source has told the BBC.

Afzal Amin is accused of attempting a plot with the English Defence League in which they would announce a march in the Dudley North constituency and he would take credit when it was scrapped.

Mr Amin, who denies any wrongdoing, faces a party hearing on Tuesday.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today he would make a "robust defence" of his actions.

But the Conservative source said it would be hard to justify talks with the EDL.

Mr Amin is likely to be gone within 48 hours and a replacement could be chosen by the weekend, the source added.

The marginal seat of Dudley North is currently held by Labour's Ian Austin with a majority of 649.

A Conservative spokesman said Mr Amin had been suspended from the party and as a candidate "with immediate effect" following the allegations.


Analysis

BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins

Afzal Amin's actions have left senior Conservatives incredulous.

He will have an opportunity to account for himself at a meeting tomorrow, but there is little doubt about his fate.

One senior figure said it was impossible to see how the suspended candidate could say anything that might justify holding talks with the English Defence League.

Mr Amin has told the BBC he sought to bring people together, and denied deception, but he is likely to be gone within 48 hours; a replacement could be chosen by the weekend.

Ending his political career may be short work - restoring the standing of the Conservative party in the crucial marginal of Labour-held Dudley North could take much longer. And a new candidate would have very little time.

For Conservatives anxious about their party's standing in ethnic minority communities this has been a difficult and ill-timed story.


The Mail on Sunday claims secretly-filmed footage, obtained by former EDL leader Tommy Robinson, shows former Army captain Mr Amin promising to be an "unshakeable ally" for the EDL in parliament and help bring their views to the mainstream.

Mr Amin said the allegations were "an inaccurate picture of the reality" and told the BBC his idea would have been a "catalyst to bring people together".

He said tensions in Dudley had increased over plans for a new mosque, prompting him to speak with Muslim leaders and EDL members, including Tommy Robinson.

'Conflict resolution'

And he told Today his actions had been "very normal conflict resolution, confidence building measures".

He added: "If people do announce that we are going to do an action and other people disagree with it, then they sit together and they resolve their differences and the action is then stopped.

"Then this helps the communities to feel that yes, on the other side there is a working partner we can work with. And that's what we were trying to stage-manage."

He said the EDL suggested the march and claimed he would not have the "confidence" to bring the idea forward himself.

But Mr Robinson said the recordings made clear what had happened.

"What he needs to do is be honest", Mr Robinson said.

Defence minister Anna Soubry appealed on BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday for Mr Amin to "go now" if there was any truth to the accusations.

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