A second Bury Conservative election candidate has been ditched by the party after an ‘anti-Semitic’ social media post emerged. Shaf Mahmood, who was selected by the Tories as one of their three candidates for the Redvales ward has had his endorsement from the party revoked today, the district association revealed.
Just yesterday, another Bury Conservative candidate, Sham Raja, who last week was confirmed as a Tory candidate in the Sedgley ward on May 5, was dropped by the party after a post on his account dating back to 2014 which compared Israeli footballers emerged to ‘ assassin’s. It is understood that Mr Mahmood published a tweet in 2017 saying ‘Jews r at it again’, which referred to a news item about an Israeli national.
The Conservatives distancing themselves from two of their own candidates comes as the Jewish Representative Council for Manchester and Region (JRC) said they were ‘profoundly troubled by the latest revelation of antisemitic social media posts’. The JRC have also written to the joint chairmen of the national Conservative Party, Oliver Dowden and Ben Elliott, to request an investigation into the Bury Conservative Association about ‘racist content’ posted by some of their members.
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The JRC said: “We are profoundly troubled by the latest revelation of antisemitic social media posts by a Conservative candidate in the forthcoming local elections. Sadly, it is now clear that these are not isolated incidents and there is a recurring issue with prospective councilors posting racist content directed at the Jewish community.
“The JRC will therefore be writing to the chairmen of the Conservative Party to request an investigation into the Bury Conservative Association.”
Bury Conservative Association said they had acted swiftly and would ‘not countenance the horror of anti-Semitism within our party’. A spokesman said: “Following a historic social media post made by Mr Mahmood being brought to our attention the association has investigated the matter and spoken to Mr Mahmood.
“Mr Mahmood no longer has the endorsement of the Bury Conservative Party in this election. The process to suspend a member from the local party is separate to any revocation of candidate endorsement, and we have been working as quickly as we can to process these complaints.
“We can confirm that both un-endorsed candidates have had their local party membership suspended and the matter will now be dealt with centrally under the Conservative Party’s disciplinary procedures. We have no further comment to make on this at this stage.
“If there are any further areas of concern, we encourage North West Friends of Israel to share them immediately so we can deal with their contents as soon as possible. Bury Conservatives fully adopt the working definition of anti-Semitism, and all cases have been reviewed on this basis.
“We will not countenance the horror of anti-Semitism within our party, and we have demonstrated we will take robust and immediate action if any such incidents are brought to light.”
Mr Mahmood’s loss of endorsement means the Conservatives will field just 49 candidates for the 51 seats up for grabs in the ‘all out’ Bury Council election on May 5. Mr Mahmood and Mr Raja’s names will remain on the ballot papers but they are not now endorsed by their party.