Conservatives ditch election candidate following storm over ‘anti-Semitic’ social media post


A Conservative election candidate in Bury has been ditched by his party due to an alleged anti-Semitic social media post since nearly eight years ago. Sham Raja, who last week was confirmed as one of three Tory candidates for the three council seats up for grabs in the Sedgley ward on May 5, ‘no longer has the endorsement of the Bury Conservative Party in this election’, a party spokesman said.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service understands the alleged social media post on his account dates back to 2014 and compares Israeli footballers to ‘assassins’.

The storm of alleged anti-Semitism has also enveloped another of the Conservative’s Sedgley candidates, Mazhar Aslam, from a post on his account four years ago. The posts were yesterday condemned as ‘reprehensible’ by the Jewish Representative Council for Manchester and Region (JRC).

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The JRC claimed that both candidates had breached ‘the universally accepted definition on antisemitism’. It is understood the Mazhar Aslam social media post reported dates from 2018 and refers to Israel’s involvement in Palestine.

After an investigation by Bury Conservatives, Mr Aslam will retain his Conservative Party status in the election with a spokesman saying the post in question was not anti-Semitic. The spokesman added that Mr Aslam understands how some people may not agree with its contents and has apologised.



The Jewish Representative Council for Manchester and Region claimed a social media post by Conservative Sedgley ward candidate Mazhar Aslam breached ‘the universally accepted definition on antisemitism’

That conclusion was in contrast to a statement issued on Monday by the Jewish Representative Council for Manchester and Region.

They said: ” The JRC have been made aware of problematic social media posts from two Conservative Party candidates standing in the forthcoming local elections in Bury. The views expressed in the posts are reprehensible and we condemn them in their entirety.”

They say the posts surrounding candidates bidding to represent “a council ward with such a large Jewish population will understandably cause huge concern”.

“The JRC wholeheartedly supports the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition on Anti-Semitism and expects all parties to adhere to the recommendations. We call on the local Conservative Party Association to proactively call out these comments from their candidates.

“It is our view that given the universally accepted definition on anti-Semitism has been breached. The individuals should not be endorsed by the Conservative party.”

Speaking on the allegations, a Bury Conservative spokesman, said: “Following certain social media posts being brought to our attention yesterday made by two of the candidates for Sedgley Ward, the association has investigated the matter and spoken to both candidates.

“Mr Mazhar Aslam continues to be a Conservative candidate. His explanation of him was that the single post he complained of was not anti-Semitic in nature although he understood some would not agree with the contents of his post of him.

“He apologized and undertook to be more careful with the use of his language in this sensitive area in the future. His explanation and apology from him were accepted.

The withdrawal of the Conservative endorsement from Mr Raja will mean the Tories will now only field two candidates for the three seats in Sedgley as nominations are now closed.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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