Tory councillor suspended for Islamophobic comments

27th Jul 2018

 

Elham Asaad Buaras

The Welsh Conservatives have suspended a candidate on July 4 following an internal investigation into Islamophobic comments on social media.

However, Labour has hit back asking why the Tories selected Laurel Ellis for the Gurnos ward on Merthyr Tydfil by-election.

Ellis had shared posts critical of Islam and showing Theresa May in Muslim religious dress, which Labour AM Dawn Bowden claimed were Islamophobic.

Ellis said she would not “defend past posts” and “regretted” the PM one. However, she insisted, “The accusation of Islamophobia is in my mind just a word to shut down a debate. My comments were aimed solely at terrorists.”

The Conservative Party announced the suspension following inquiries from BBC Wales about the Facebook posts on June 27. Ellis will still appear on the ballot, despite the Tories saying she would not be standing for them.

Laurel Ellis’ shared other Facebook pages included one post that suggested Britain was tolerant “until… Muslims marched”. Another, captioned “Sharia May”, includes a photoshopped image of May wearing Muslim religious dress.

In a Twitter post sent during the Conservative leadership campaign in 2016, Ellis said: “Theresa May is a front-runner really? A leader that supports Islam and is happy to have Sharia Law in our country? ”

Conservative Party Statement

The Party seeks “to reach out to, and represent, all communities and people from all walks of life in Wales” said a spokesman for the Welsh Conservatives. Adding Ellis’s comments were “unacceptable”.

Labour Assembly Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, Dawn Bowden, said prior to the suspension: “It is alarming that the Welsh Conservatives would select an official candidate with such apparently distasteful and Islamophobic views, which seems to extend to attacking the leader of her own party.

“The Welsh Conservatives clearly have questions to answer about how such a candidate has been selected.”

Ellis accused Bowden of twisting “my words and meaning.”

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