Conservative candidate resigns after EDL plot claims

Suspended Conservative candidate Afzal Amin has resigned as prospective parliamentary candidate for Dudley North with immediate effect, a party source said.

The candidate for the marginal Dudley North seat was accused of planning to use an inflammatory march against a new 'mega-mosque' by the English Defence League to help his election campaign.

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Tory candidate Afzal Amin resigns after EDL claims

Afzal Amin

Suspended Conservative candidate Afzal Amin has resigned as prospective parliamentary candidate for Dudley North with immediate effect, a party source said.

Amin, who was filmed in discussions with former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, initially said he would fight allegations that he attempted to stage-manage a far-right rally in order to boost his electoral chances.

But party sources said he had now resigned as candidate in the Tory target seat of Dudley North "with immediate effect", a day ahead of a planned disciplinary hearing.

The Conservatives will now move "swiftly" to appoint a new candidate, who must be in place by the time nominations close on April 9, a source said.

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."

Miliband: Afzal Amin must be kicked out by Tories

Labour leader Ed Miliband said David Cameron should throw Afzal Amin out of the Tory Party over the candidate's alleged meetings with the English Defence League.

Miliband said:

These are shocking allegations when you have a Conservative candidate saying that he is going to be an 'unshakeable ally' of the English Defence League.

There is only one course of action for David Cameron: he should end the dither, end the delay and kick this man out of his party. We cannot have these sort of people standing for mainstream parties in British politics.

– Ed Miliband

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Osborne refuses to call for Tory candidate to stand down

George Osborne will 'await the results of the investigation Credit: Reuters

The chancellor has refused to call for Conservative candidate Afzal Amin to stand down amid allegations of links with a far right group.

During a visit to the Science Museum in London, George Osborne was asked whether Mr Amin should withdraw as candidate for Dudley North.

"He has been suspended pending the investigation from the Conservative Party, so that investigation is now taking place very quickly and of course we await the results," the chancellor said.

Tory candidate Afzal Amin to mount 'robust defence'

Afzal Amin is accused of scheming with the EDL to announce an inflammatory march. Credit: PA

Conservative candidate Afzal Amin has insisted he will mount a "robust defence" of his actions in attempting to "stage-manage" a row with the far-right English Defence League in order to boost his electoral chances in the constituency.

Mr Amin told the the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that he did not propose an EDL march against a "mega-mosque" in Dudley North, but that it was suggested by former EDL leader Tommy Robinson.

There is no way that I would have the confidence to propose such a manoeuvre to the EDL leadership. He is the one that proposed, absolutely, that we would do this march and then we would negotiate a way out of it. When he first came to me he presented himself in tears, saying that he wanted to see an improved Britain. I didn't realise this was the start of a year-long sting operation. That's really what I've been subject to here.

– Afzal Amin

Mr Amin said he would make his case to the Conservative Party at tomorrow's hearing.

Voters feel damage has 'already been done'

The damage from this weekend's headlines about Tory candidate Afzal Amin being suspended after an alleged 'vote plot' has reportedly "already been done" according to Conservative candidates and voters in Amin's Dudley North constituency.

ITV News' Political Correspondent Lewis Vaughan Jones reports:

Amin: Vote plot allegations 'grossly misrepresented'

The Tory candidate who allegedly hatched a plot involving the far-right English Defence League to win votes by stirring up racial tension has said footage of him meeting ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson has been "grossly misrepresented".

Afzal Amin Credit: conservatives.com

Afzal Amin, who has been suspended by his party, posted a response to the allegations made by a Mail on Sunday article on his official website today.

He said: "Today’s allegations are part of a much wider story which has been grossly misrepresented and present an inaccurate picture of the reality of what was happening.

"The Mail on Sunday has provided small snippets of over 27 hours of sensitive meetings between Tommy Robinson and I which have led to a manipulation of events."

He added that the article, which claimed he planned to use an inflammatory march against a new 'mega-mosque' in the seat of Dudley North to help his election campaign, had left him "saddened" and stated he had been doing "altruistic, community service work" at the time of the recordings.

Click here to read Amin's statement in full.

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Soubry: Amin 'should put hands up and go' if EDL plot allegations are true

Tory defence minister Anna Soubry has said Afzal Amin should "put his hands up" if allegations that he plotted with the EDL to win votes by stirring up racial tension.

Amin has reportedly described the allegations as "completely untrue".

Ms Soubry said: "If he's done it then he should put his hands up and go but we've said that we're going to wait until Tuesday.

"He's suspended but if he's done it he should go".

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