Tories suspend Aberdeen North General Election candidate Ryan Houghton over Holocaust posts

Ryan Houghton is suspended on same day Amjad Bashir, the Conservative candidate for Leeds North East issues new apology over calling British Jews 'brainwashed extremists'



A Conservative Party candidate has been suspended over alleged antisemitic comments he made about the Holocaust.

The Scottish Tories confirmed they had withdrawn their support for Aberdeen North candidate Ryan Houghton, a local councillor, while the comments, which he made seven years ago were investigated.

In a statement Mr Houghton said that in one of the social media threads he had discussed freedom of speech and he had discussed comments made by disgraced Holocaust historian David Irving. He said that that had been an online discussion on freedom of speech and that there "followed a discussion about the now disgraced historian David Irving started by other members".

Mr Houghton said that in explaining the historian's postion "after watching one of his lectures online, I had referenced his view that part of the Holocaust had been fabricated or exaggerated".

Mr Houghton released a statement on his Twitter feed, saying the comments, revealed by The National newspaper,  were taken "out of context".

He added: "At the age of 20 on an online forum, I took part in a range of political discussions. These included terrorism, LGBT rights and antisemitism."

"I apologise unreservedly for any hurt now caused by these comments and have been in contact with members of the Jewish community in Aberdeen."

Mr Houghton said he had been a member of the Holocaust Education Trust and had visited Auschwitz.

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: "The comments contained in these blogs are unacceptable and Mr Houghton has been suspended as a member of the Scottish Conservative party as a result.

"The party has also withdrawn its support for his candidacy in Aberdeen North. "The Scottish Conservatives deplore all forms of Islamophobia, homophobia and antisemitism."

The decision was taken on Monday evening shortly after the party's Leeds North East candidate Amjad Bashir issued an apology to the Conservative Friends of Israel and offered to meet with the Board of Deputies over his own comments about British Jews being "brainwashed extremists".

Mr Bashir appeared to have escaped more serious punishment after his comments on British Jews who return from Israel were revealed by the JC.

After initially apologising to the JC for claiming British Jews return from trips to Israel as "brainwashed extremists" the former Ukip MEP wrote to the Conservative Friends of Israel group on Monday offering to travel to Israel to learn from the experiences of people living there.

He also said he would meet with the Board of Deputies. But many in the Leeds community are furious the party did not take stronger action.

They point to the fact that the  previous MP for Leeds North East and current Labour candidate Fabian Hamilton is close to Jeremy Corbyn and has anti-Israel views.

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