An Indian-origin Conservative Party election candidate accused of organizing a fake far-right march to win votes has said the idea was to “bring people together”.
Afzal Amin, the Tory candidate for Dudley North in the West Midlands, was suspended by his party this weekend after he was filmed offering to help the English Defence League to organize a protest march against the building of a mosque in his constituency.
The Mail on Sunday reported that Amin, a Muslim and a former British Army captain, had planned to cancel the march at the last minute and claim the credit.
On Monday, Amin denied a “deception”.
He told the BBC: “This was not a ‘fake’ demonstration. The point was to announce a march that would bring people together to discuss and through those discussions tensions would be resolved.
Mr Amin said that there were “serious” tensions between different communities in Dudley and that the Mail on Sunday report had only served to make matters worse.
The English Defence League – a fringe group which says it is fighting the apparent “Islamization” of Britain – is opposed to the building of a so-called ‘Mega Mosque’ in the city, which is home to a large South Asian community.
Mr Amin was covertly filmed by EDL founder Tommy Robinson who said Amin had tried to “use” the organization in a “cynical” attempt to win votes.
In return, Amin is heard promising the EDL to help bring its views to the mainstream
Meanwhile, a Conservative Party insider has said that Mr Amin will be removed from the party “within days” – that despite the party claiming that a disciplinary hearing would be held on Tuesday to hear Mr Amin’s side of the story.
The BBC quoted the insider as saying it would be “hard to justify” a Tory party candidate holding talks with the EDL – an organization variously described as “Islamophobic” and “Fascist”.