Tories suspend election candidate after JC exposed his claim British Jews were 'brainwashed extremists'

Exclusive: The party is also withdrawing election support for Amjad Bashir, the candidate in Leeds North East



The Tories have suspended an election candidate after the JC exposed his claim that British Jews were returning from Israel as "brainwashed extremists".

Amjad Bashir, the candidate for Leeds North East, was informed that his membership of the Conservatives had been revoked following a review of his conduct by party chiefs.

A Conservative spokesman confirmed on Wednesday: “Mr. Bashir has been suspended from the party pending investigation and election support has been withdrawn.”

In a speech delivered to the European Parliament in 2014 in Brussels, when he was a MEP for Ukip, Mr Bashir had said: "Young men are going over from England where I come from - people of the Jewish faith who my grandchildren have grown up with as decent young men.

"But have come back as extremists - as people that are brainwashed.

"They will not listen to reason. There is something very peculiar and wrong going on Israel."

In another speech, delivered to the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee in August 2014, Mr Bashir called the chair of the session an "apologist" for Israel.

After the JC revealed his comments on Monday, Mr Bashir issued an apology that said: "I deeply regret the comments I made around brainwashing - this was borne from a personal experience but it was completely wrong and I apologise unreservedly for it.”

The Jewish Leadership Council, Conservative Friends of Israel and the Board of Deputies were among those to condemn Mr Bashir’s comments – with the JLC demanding Tory Party chairman James Cleverly investigate his conduct further.

There was also widespread fury among the Leeds Jewish community. Mr Bahir’s election agent Dan Cohen said he would not be doing any further campaigning for him and vowed to withhold funds.

Mr Cohen told furious members of the Leeds Jewish community that Mr Bashir was appointed by the central party as the Conservative candidate for the December 12 election.

Angelo Basu, who chairs the Leeds North West Conservative Association, told the JC: "From a personal perspective, I can’t begin to express my disgust and disappointment at the comments from our Leeds North East candidate and am confident this view is shared by my colleagues."

Ms Bashir was forced to deny he was a member of George Galloway’s Respect Party in 2012. When defecting to the Tory Party in 2015 he was welcomed by David Cameron and Grant Schapps.

Leeds North East Labour candidate Fabian Hamilton said: "Anybody that holds such offensive views is not fit to hold public office, whatever party they represent.

"Amjad Bashir has insulted the entire Jewish community in North East Leeds with his clearly antisemitic remarks and I share the community’s anger. I am absolutely appalled.”

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