A former adviser to Boris Johnson is facing calls to be removed as an election candidate after Labour accused him of displaying “disgusting racism” in an article written almost 17 years ago.
Anthony Browne, a Conservative candidate for South Cambridgeshire, made comments blaming immigrants for bringing germs and HIV to the UK and accused Muslims of having divided loyalties, according to The Guardian.
In an article on The Spectator website, dated January 2003, Mr Browne wrote: “It is not through letting in terrorists that the government’s policy of mass migration – especially from the third world – will claim the most lives. It is through letting in too many germs.”
Naz Shah, shadow women and equalities minister, said: “This is disgusting racism. It’s shocking that someone with such despicable views has been selected to stand for the Conservative Party.
“Given his personal relationship with Anthony Browne, Boris Johnson should personally intervene and remove him as a candidate.”
Miqdaad Versi, media spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “Truly disgusting and unacceptable racism. Conservative Party candidate Anthony Browne accused Muslims of divided loyalties.
“Why is such Islamophobia allowed from a candidate for the Conservative Party?”
A Tory spokeswoman said: “These comments were made over 15 years ago, Anthony Browne has apologised for these comments and sincerely regrets them.”
Meanwhile, Kevin McNamara has resigned as the Lib Dem candidate for Thurrock after the party opened disciplinary investigations into tweets he posted in the past.
Mr McNamara, who has had tweets using racial and homophobic slur resurface, said: “I am deeply sorry for the comments that I made that are currently being reported in the press. These words are deeply offensive and I apologise profusely to everybody that I have offended with these tweets.
“I would never want to undermine the voices of those communities with slurs or degradation and it’s important that people who want to represent the public are held to the very highest standard. I am resigning as a candidate with immediate effect for the upcoming election.
“I apologise to all of those I have let down with my past conduct and will work hard to regain their trust.”