A Conservative councillor suspended earlier this year over social media posts, including one condemning “Zionist murderers” has been allowed back into the party after apologising and insisting:”I am not antisemitic. I want to make amends’.”
Shakeel Hussain has been allowed to join the Tory Group on Stockton Council following an investigation Newly elected councillor suspended by Tories in antisemitism probeinto a succession of inflammatory Facebook posts.
His activity on social media came to light ahead of the local elections in May, and after winning a seat on the Ropner ward, Hussain had to sit as an independent councillor while the investigation progressed.
The social media posts were written when Hussain had been a Labour member, but Keir Starmer’s party had blocked his attempt to stand for them as candidate in May.
Conservative Group leaders on the councillor appeared to overlook Hussain’s record, declaring him as a candidate before he was then suspended.
One post, uncovered by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, revealed Hussain had once written “The world is slowly waking up and seeing through all the smugness of these Zionist murderers.”
Now in a statement Hussain, who claimed not to recognise other inflammatory posts on his Facebook as his, said: “It is with deep regret between July 2014 and March 2015, whilst a member of the Labour Party, I engaged in discussion on social media regarding the Palestinian and Israeli conflict.
“The main purpose of which was to highlight the unnecessary death and suffering on all sides of the conflict.
“However, it has now been determined that I transgressed into the area of antisemitism on four occasions and (it) is wholly unacceptable within the Conservative Party, and in wider society. When these matters were raised, I engaged fully and openly with the thorough investigation conducted by the Conservative Party.
“I would like to apologise unreservedly for any offence I have caused. I am not antisemitic. I fully accept the wrongs I have caused, and I want to make amends.”
Hussain also admitted he was unaware of the IHRA definition in the past, which is adopted by the Conservative Party, and vowed to undergo diversity training.
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