The Conservative Party has suspended councillor Ellenor Bland from its election candidate list and from the party pending a full investigation of claims she sent a racist e-mail, a senior party official said.
Liberal Democrat campaigns chair Edward Davey said the email—an “offensive” poem about illegal immigrants—was “totally unacceptable” and urged Conservative leader David Cameron to take action against Ellenor Bland, a Tory representative on Calne Town Council in Wiltshire who stood for the party in Swansea East at last year’s General Election.
He said that it showed there were still “deeply unpleasant elements” in Mr Cameron’s party.
Mr Davey wrote to Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) chief Trevor Phillips, asking him to rule on whether the message conformed with the watchdog’s guidelines to political parties and individuals in elected public office.
Mrs Bland insisted she had not personally sent the poem—which talks about Pakistani immigrants coming to Britain to claim welfare benefits—but that “someone else” had used one of her email accounts.
But she said the poem, which Mr Davey said had featured on white supremacist websites, was “light-hearted” and was not intended to cause offence.
The text, entitled Illegal Immigrants Poem, describes how a migrant comes to Britain “poor and broke” and makes money by claiming welfare benefits before inviting friends from his home country to come and join him. They eventually take over the whole area after white neighbours move out.
The poem ends: “We have hobby, it’s called breeding. Welfare pay for baby feeding. Kids need dentist? Wife need pills? We get free! We got no bills!
“Britain crazy! They pay all year, To keep welfare running here.
“We think UK darn good place. Too darn good for the white man race! If they no like us, they can scram. Got lots of room in Pakistan!”
Beneath the text on the email was a cartoon picture of the white cliffs of Dover with the words “P off—we’re full!” scrawled across them.
Mr Davey said: “It is totally unacceptable for elected representatives to be distributing this kind of material. Racism has absolutely no place in British politics and I am asking the CRE to advise on what further action can be taken.
“If David Cameron wants to retain any credibility he must immediately take the strongest action against the person responsible.
“Despite David Cameron’s best PR efforts, the Conservative Party clearly continues to contain some deeply unpleasant elements.”
A Conservative spokesman said the party was looking into Mr Davey’s claims.
He added: “We dissociate ourselves entirely from the sentiments expressed in this poem.”
Mrs Bland, who runs a clothes shop in Wootton Bassett, Wilts, lives in the village of Quemerford and has been a Calne town councillor since 2003, said: “I haven’t sent anything out which I’m accused of sending.
“I didn’t. Someone else did. My email address is something that’s used by my husband too. It’s not my personal email account.”
The email was sent from the address listed as a contact address for Mrs Bland on Calne Town Council’s website.
She added: “From what I remember of it, it was a very light-hearted poem.
“If anyone wants to accuse someone of being racist, we have Asian friends and we work well together and all accept each other’s different ways.
“People crack jokes about things. If somebody wants to go overboard, anybody who wants to take it that way, I apologise for it in advance, but at the same time no offence was meant.”