A Conservative council election candidate has been suspended by the party over tweets expressing support for far-right activist Tommy Robinson.
Stephen Chadwick, who is standing in Warrington’s North Lymm ward, claimed that the English Defence League founder “has been talking complete and utter sense regarding these Islamic problems.”
His tweet – which was directed at Good Morning Britain three days after the suspected terror attack in Streatham in February last year – came to light just over a week after he had apologised for a previous tweet about Robinson.
In the earlier tweet from May 2019 he revealed he had become a “registered supporter” of the far-activist, who was standing for election as an MEP, and posted a link to Robinson’s campaign website.
The local conservative party had initially stood by Mr Chadwick, describing the earlier tweet as a “misjudgement” which demonstrated his “political naivety”. “Stephen has been very clear that he does not support or condone the views of that post,” a spokesperson told the Warrington Worldwide website.
However Conservative Party headquarters have now stepped in to suspend Mr Chadwick “pending an investigation”.
A spokesperson said: “As a party we will not tolerate racism of any form. While his name will still be on the ballot paper because it is too late to withdraw, we have withdrawn all support for him as a party and will not be endorsing him.”
Russ Bowden, the Labour leader of Warrington Council, commented: “The Tory top brass were warned about this weeks ago and took no action.
“This isn’t an isolated incident. There is clearly a problem with their vetting and selection of candidates and frankly the people of Warrington deserve far better than this.”
Mr Chadwick’s twitter account has been deleted but several tweets can still be viewed online.
Another tweet from July 2019 suggests he was following Robinson’s trial for contempt of court, which resulted in the activist being sentenced to nine months imprisonment. Tweeting at Ezra Levant, a key supporter of Tommy Robinson, he said that it was “disgusting” that “two veterans have been refused entry to a pub outside [the Old Bailey] for being linked with Tommy!”
Mr Chadwick has not commented on his suspension but had previously told the Warrington Worldwide website that his tweet about becoming a registered supporter of Tommy Robinson was “a misjudgement on my part and one which I now regret and apologise for.”
He added: “Everybody who knows me, knows that I do not share the views of far-right political groups.”