A prospective Conservative candidate will NOT be standing at next month’s elections and has been suspended from the party.
Ian Robinson had appeared on leaflets naming him as Tory candidate for the Netherton ward in May’s local elections - but has now been replaced as their candidate.
It came after Mr Robinson - responding to complaints about various posts on his Facebook profile - claimed that he might have been ‘hacked’.
He also said he had resigned his party membership so would not have been eligible to stand.
Patrick McGinley, chairman of Hyndburn Conservatives, confirmed to the Observer: “Ian Robinson was suspended pending further enquiries at an emergency meeting.
“He has since resigned his membership from the Conservative Party and will not stand in the upcoming elections.”
A North West regional Conservative spokesman said: “Ian Robinson has been suspended pending an investigation.”
The Observer has seen copies of posts appearing to have been shared on former Independent and UKIP councillor Mr Robinson’s Facebook page between March last year and January this year. They include a message on March 25, 2017 sharing a post by Britain First, recently banned from the social media platform.
Mr Robinson told us: “I assume I have been hacked. I would never stand for racist comments on my Facebook.
“I had resigned and not renewed my Conservative membership over the fishing EU debate so would not have been able to stand for them.”
He added that he would not be standing as an independent candidate in the forthcoming elections due to ‘medical issues and work commitments’.
Hyndburn Labour group deputy leader Coun Paul Cox said: “I’m appalled at the content that Ian Robinson’s account has shared on social media, some of which is very close to, if not incites racial hatred.
“Hyndburn Labour take xenophobia, racism or any kind of discrimination very seriously, had this been a Labour candidate or councillor I can categorically say that an immediate suspension would have been imposed with the likely outcome of being expelled from the Labour Party if these posts could be proven to have come from that individual.”
Liz McGinley has been confirmed as the new prospective Conservative candidate in Netherton ward.
Labour’s prospective candidate is Bernadette Parkinson.