A Conservative councillor has been suspended after the Examiner exposed his apparent endorsement of Islamaphobic posts on Twitter.
Kirklees Council member for Denby Dale , Clr Michael Watson, has used his Twitter account, @MichaelR_Watson, to ‘like’ numerous posts by former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.
Clr Watson’s account has liked a number of anti-Islam posts by Robinson, Katie Hopkins and others.
It has also liked numerous anti-transgender and anti-asylum posts.
Asked by the Examiner if his likes were endorsements, he said: “Not really.”
After being accused of “shameful racism” in a council meeting, Clr Watson re-tweeted a post that said the word racist “had lost all meaning...”
This morning, a Conservative party spokesman said Clr Watson, a partner at Leeds-based law firm Shulmans, had been suspended pending an investigation.
The word 'Conservative' has also been removed from his profile.
Suspended councillors can’t be removed from the council and are free to continue with their duties as a councillor.
They are still paid the basic allowance but cannot seek positions of extra responsibility that bring extra payment.
Even if expelled by their party they can continue as an independent.
The only way to remove them from office is at the ballot box.
There are no Kirklees Council elections this year. The next councillors’ elections are on May 3, 2018.
The Tory party probe is the second in a week after an Examiner investigation last week led to the suspension of Kirkburton Parish Council’s Clr Ray Bray.
The Twitter account of Clr Bray, the Conservative member for Shelley, tweeted a number of anti-Islam posts. He later claimed he had been hacked.