A Conservative county councillor representing Ramsgate says he has been “completely wiped out” by allegations that he posted Islamophobic remarks on social media.
Paul Messenger has been suspended from the Tory Party pending an investigation over the posts, said to have been made in 2013.
The investigation means he is no longer eligible to stand in the May local elections for the party.
Posts that have been highlighted include one that says: “Let’s not fool ourselves here; The Muslim Communities living in Britain would like to see the whole country Muslim. Whether this is achieved by violent or stealth – they would prefer this – it’s natural and you could argue within their rights to do this.
“After some considerable thought I have come up with this suggestion – given that MI5 have to commit considerable resources Into the protection and prevention of ‘home grown’ Islamic threat far more than when the IRA were doing their worst to us, then I believe the peaceful British Islamic Society should pay for this extra cost.”
Mr Messenger denied making the posts, saying he believes they have been created in a bid to target him. He said: “These are not my feelings. I voted to Remain, I think immigration is a good thing for the country. I expressly deny I wrote the post about Muslims. Someone has obviously spent a lot of time on this. I have never had to deal with this kind of onslaught before.
“I do not hold these views. I may have had more open views about immigration in 2013/14 but not now and I have never held any racist views.
“This has completely destroyed me.”
The suspension notification was sent out by Conservative HQ on Wednesday although an address error meant Mr Messenger was not alerted until Friday.
The HQ email says any ‘criminality’ may also be reported by the party. Complainants have made screenshots of the offending posts,
Call for expulsion
Kent Anti-Racism Network (KARN) is calling for Mr Messenger to be expelled from the party.
A KARN spokesperson said: “Views such as those (allegedly) expressed by Paul Messenger cannot be tolerated, and we are calling on local people to write to the South and North Thanet Conservative Associations to demand Paul Messenger’s resignation.”
Labour county councillor Karen Constantine branded the posts as “Islamaphobic, racist and utterly deplorable,” saying Mr Messenger should now ‘consider his suitability for office.”
A North Thanet Conservative Association said the organisation “ is aware of this complaint and the matter is being fully investigated.”