Tory Suspended Over ‘Racist’ Email
A Conservative councillor and former parliamentary candidate has been suspended from the party amid allegations that she sent a racist email. Councillor Ellenor Bland was reported to race relations watchdogs by Liberal Democrats who said the “offensive” message showed there were still “deeply unpleasant elements” in David Cameron’s Conservative Party.
The message sent from Ms Bland’s email address included a poem about Pakistani immigrants coming to the UK to claim benefits, along with a cartoon of the white cliffs of Dover with the words “P*** off – we’re full” scrawled across them.
Ms Bland, who represents the Conservatives on Calne Town Council in Wiltshire and was the party’s candidate in Swansea East in last year’s general election, denied having sent the message, saying “someone else” had sent it from her address.
But she insisted it was “light-hearted” and that no offence was meant by it.
A senior Conservative official later said Ms Bland had been suspended from the Tories’ election candidate list and from the party pending a full investigation of the allegations surrounding the email.
It later emerged that the poem had also appeared on Conservative higher education spokesman Boris Johnson’s website. But the prominent Tory MP said that it had been posted on a message board by one of the visitors to his site and he had no idea that it was there. “It’s an utterly dreadful poem and I condemn it unreservedly,” said Mr Johnson.
“I had absolutely no knowledge it was on my website. Hundreds of people post material into the site and this one slipped through the net.”
Liberal Democrat campaigns chair Edward Davey reported Ms Bland to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), asking its chairman Trevor Phillips to rule on whether the message conformed with the watchdog’s guidelines to political parties and individuals.
Mr Davey also wrote to Mr Cameron asking him to take action over the “totally unacceptable” message, which was forwarded to five people from the email account listed as Ms Bland’s contact address on Calne Town Council’s website.