Tory candidate quits over homophobic and anti-Islamic tweets
A Tory council candidate has resigned from the party with immediate effect after posting anti-Islamic and homophobic comments on Twitter.
David Bishop, a candidate in Brentwood South, Essex, apologised after retweeting messages, including one that claimed Islam was the religion of rape.
"I have let myself and my party down," Mr Bishop said in a statement.
It comes after a UKIP council candidate, who tweeted that Islam was "evil", was suspended from the party.
Mr Bishop, who is also a DJ in the Brentwood area, retweeted one message on 13 April that read: "How CAN a gay guy keep a straight face?"
In another message, retweeted on April 27 - two days after Mr Bishop was named as a Conservative council candidate - it cited the arrest of four Muslim men over the rape of a 14-year-old girl and added: "#Islam 'the religion of peace' & rape."
In a statement, Mr Bishop apologised "for the real offence caused" and said he would "not be asking anyone to vote for me on May 22".
"I recognise that someone standing for public office should show leadership and seek to unite communities, not divide them. I hope the residents of Brentwood South can forgive my lack of judgement in time," he said.
John Kerslake, chairman of Brentwood and Ongar Conservatives said the matter had been dealt with "swiftly and conclusively in the best interest of Brentwood and the party".
Louise McKinlay, group leader of Brentwood Conservatives, added that Mr Bishop's views had "no place in our team".
"David's decision to step down was the right thing to do and I am pleased the party has backed this and accepted his resignation from the team and from the party," she said.
Mr Bishop's resignation comes as UKIP council candidate, Harry Perry, who was seeking election in the Offerton ward in Stockport, was suspended by the party on Friday after tweeting that Islam was "evil" and homosexuality was an "abomination".
Another UKIP candidate resigned from the party last week after making controversial remarks about comedian Lenny Henry.