Tory councillor and former mayor for Havant seeks apology for suspension over nationwide Islamophobia probe

A VETERAN Havant councillor and former mayor said he is ‘furious’ after being suspended without explanation for a misconstrued social media comment, following a nationwide probe into Islamophobia in the Tory Party.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 5:38 pm
Ken Smith pictured during a county election in 2009 at Havant Leisure Centre. PICTURE: ALLAN HUTCHINGS (092039-413)

Bedhampton representative, Ken Smith, was one of 25 sitting and former Conservative councillors in the country sent an email last night to say he was suspended.

The councillor of 16 years was not given a reason, but a dossier provided to The News by @matesjacob, an anonymous Twitter user who campaigns against racism, revealed he was included on a list of Tory councillors posting potentially offensive content on Facebook.

A screenshot showed Mr Smith had commented underneath a post made by a former councillor from Kingston, also called Ken Smith, that linked to a Daily Mail article calling Mayor of London Sadiq Khan a ‘big baby’ for ‘shamefully mocking Trump’.

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Screenshot of a post written by former Kingston councillor Ken Smith that Havant Cllr Ken Smith commented on.

Above the link Ken Smith from Kingston claimed Khan put ‘his religion before his country and countrymen’ and was therefore a ‘disgrace to London and our nation.’

Underneath, Mr Smith from Havant commented: ‘Well said Ken Smith.’

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However, the 79-year-old explained his comment was not in reference to Khan’s religion.

Speaking to The News, he said: ‘He (Ken Smith from Kingston) made a comment saying how he was unhappy with the way the mayor conducted his business.

‘Khan was saying “we don’t want Trump” and I thought that was wrong for the mayor to say that. Trump was democratically elected as leader of the free world. It wasn’t related to him being a Muslim.

‘I have worked 30 years of my business life with the Middle East and have many friends there who are Muslims. I am totally not against Muslims in any way, shape or form.’

Now the politician, who was mayor between 2011 and 2012, has asked for an apology from the party and to be reinstated.

‘I am furious,’ he said. ‘The party sent me an email simply saying I had been suspended, with no explanation. That’s unacceptable.’

Edward Rees, chairman of the Havant Conservative Association, said: ‘Until that investigation is complete it wouldn’t be right for the association to make comment.’

Tory candidate for Havant, Alan Mak, was approached for comment.