A Tory councillor who shared an image on Facebook comparing a Muslim child wearing the burqa to bin bags has been kicked out of the party.
Councillor for Enfield, north London, Chris Joannides has been given the boot for 12 months and is no longer a candidate for May’s local elections.
Mr Joannides had the whip for the Enfield Conservative Group suspended last year after he shared an image on Facebook of a Muslim woman and child dressed in burqas standing next to two bin bags.
The image included a caption which read: “I saw her standing there and I told her she had three beautiful children. She didn’t have to get all p***ed off and threaten me. It was an honest mistake!”
Mr Joannides insisted he took his duties seriously despite the “blokeish banter” written on his Facebook page and denied being Islamophobic.
A Conservative Party spokesman has said: “Cllr Chris Joannides is not endorsed as a Conservative Party candidate in the forthcoming local government elections in the London Borough of Enfield in May 2014. No appeal is permitted under Party Rules.
“Furthermore, Cllr Joannides is expelled from the Conservative Party for a period of 12 months. He may appeal against this decision and it is our understanding that he intends to do so.”
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Mr Joannides told the London Evening Standard the image was shared on his profile by a friend and he deleted it immediately. However, a picture of the image was taken before it was deleted.
He said he had been investigated and cleared by the local association and the police. “I was reselected to stand in May by the local branch. Then I got an email from Conservative Central Office at the 11th hour telling me they were suspending my membership for 12 months, effectively barring me from standing. The rug has been pulled away from me.”