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#Switch: Highest-ranked Asian UKIP member defects to the Tories after suspension

The highest-ranked British Asian member of the UK Independence Party has defected to the Conservatives.

Mr Bashir’s defection came hours after UKIP said he had been suspended pending investigations into what the party called “extremely serious” issues.

Pakistani-origin Mr Bashir is a Member of the European Parliament who represents the constituencies of Yorshire and Humber in northern England.

He had been the UKIP’s Communities Spokesman and appeared regularly with party leader Nigel Farage as the party attempted to dispel perceptions that it is racist and xenophobic.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “absolutely delighted” with Mr Bashir’s decision.

A spokesman for UKIP said that the allegations against Mr Bashir included claims of interfering in the candidate selection process as well as unanswered financial and employment questions.

The spokesman added that evidence against Mr Bashir would be been handed over to police.

He said: “The allegations against Mr Bashir are of a grave nature and we will be forwarding our evidence obtained so far to the police.

“UKIP will not tolerate anyone abusing their positions in the party, as we have a firm commitment to differing ourselves from the existing political classes.

“As a result, Mr Bashir’s involvement with the party was suspended today with immediate effect pending further investigations.”

Speaking after his defection, Mr Bashir told the Telegraph that UKIP was “delusional” about the up-coming general election and described the party’s policies as “ridiculous”.

He also refuted all allegations against him.

Mr Bashir has been at the centre of controversy before.  He was accused of hypocrisy last year for speaking against mass immigration whilst employing several illegal immigrants at a restaurant owned by him in Manchester.

Mr Bashir later resigned as a director of the company that owned the Zouk Bar and Grill.

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