The Indian-origin Tory party candidate accused of trying to organize a fake far-right march to win votes has resigned as an election candidate.
Afzal Amin quit just hours after protesting his innocence and promising to mount a “robust defence” against the revelations made in the Mail on Sunday.
Mr Amin, a Muslim and a former British Army captain, was filmed by the newspaper allegedly offering to help the far-right English Defence League (EDL) organize a demonstration against a planned mosque in his constituency of Dudley North, in the West Midlands.
He had planned to have the march cancelled at the last minute and claim the credit in what the MoS described as a “cynical” attempt to win votes in the tightly fought seat.
A Conservative spokesman said: “Afzal Amin is resigning as Conservative candidate for Dudley North with immediate effect. Conservative Chairman Grant Shapps has welcomed Mr Amin’s decision and thanked him for his work in the past.”
Mr Amin said his comments to EDL leader Tommy Robinson had been “taken out of context” and his offer had been an attempt at resolving an on-going conflict between different communities in his area.
On Monday he told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “If people do announce that they are going to do an action, and other people disagree with it, then they sit together and they resolve their differences and the action is then stopped; then this helps the communities feel that ‘yes, on the other side there is a working partner we can work with’.
“That’s what we were trying to stage-manage”, Mr Amin said.
Jon Ashworth, the Shadow Home Office Minister, welcomed Mr Amin’s resignation but said he should have been expelled by the Conservatives.
“It’s right that Afzal Amin has gone but what on earth took so long? Given the serious allegations involved it was obvious that David Cameron should have expelled him immediately, instead he dithered until the candidate himself jumped before he was pushed.
“This deeply damaging episode has exposed a Conservative campaign in chaos and a Prime Minister paralysed by indecision”, Ashworth said.