A Conservative councillor in Southend has been suspended amid claims he attended a meeting of a far-right group.
Essex MEP Richard Howitt formally wrote to Southend Borough Council's Leader and Chief Executive calling for the inquiry in to Kursaal ward councillor Blaine Robin. It's over allegations published by the national political website Political Scrapbook which detailed individuals who supported the English Defence League.
In the letter, Richard Howitt cites the report as showing clear evidence from Facebook and from a YouTube video that Cllr Blaine Robin took part in a meeting of the EDL while they were planning their recent demonstration in East London. During that demonstration 60 arrests were made including for assaulting the police, and Cllr Blaine was apparently praised personally by the EDL's leader on camera at the meeting.
In a statement Rochford and Southend East Conservative Association told Heart they 'abhor and condemn far-right groups such as the English Defence League'.
"We have recently been made aware that one of our members, Cllr Blaine Robin, attended a meeting of the EDL and as a result of this we have decided to temporarily suspend his party membership pending an internal investigation by the Conservative Party.
"We would like to make it clear that Blaine has been active in fighting against racism and intolerance for many years and that at this stage it appears his behaviour in associating with the EDL represents a serious error of judgement but no more. However, given the controversy surrounding this group we feel it is appropriate that we take this action in order to fully reassure members of the community who may be concerned."
Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up