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Adam Barnett, Reporter
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
The Conservative Party in Newham has distanced itself from leaflets that say the council is full of gays and atheists, but defended its official leaflets courting Muslim voters.
Yesterday, the Recorder reported that leaflets urging Muslims to vote Conservative in Thursday’s local elections are being investigated by the police.
One bears the party’s official imprint and says the Conservatives will “cater for the needs of the Muslim Community” if elected, while another of unknown origin claims the council has “seven times more gays” than ethnic minorities.
After initially declining to comment, the Tories released a typed statement on its Twitter account, @NewhamCons, saying the homophobic leaflets were produced unsolicited by “certain groups” in Newham.
It said: “These leaflets do not contain Newham Conservatives’ imprint and have nothing to do with the Conservative Party, Newham Conservatives or any of our candidates.
“We do not support such leaflets and it goes without saying that we utterly condemn anything that seeks to unfairly represent or attack anyone.
“This is totally unacceptable and has no place in Newham politics.”
But the party appeared to defend its own leaflets, some of which promise Muslims in Newham a burial ground and free parking for Friday prayers.
It said: “Acutely aware of not just Newham’s ethnic diversity, but also of our borough’s religious diversity, we have candidates who are amongst others, Christian, Hindu, Muslim and of no religion.
“We have listened to (and will continue to listen to) the concerns of all groups, but have also made clear that whilst we seek to address specific issues, we will not unduly favour one group over the other. That would be wrong.”
The party did not dispute whether the leaflets bearing the Tory imprint, which include translations into Punjabi, Gujurati and Bangladeshi, were produced by the Conservative Party.
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