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Suffolk and Waveney councillor suspended over allegations of an Islamophobic comment about Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

PUBLISHED: 18:34 01 June 2018 | UPDATED: 20:26 01 June 2018

Stephen Ardley is accused of posting an Islamaphobic comment on Facebook. An investigation is underway   Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Stephen Ardley is accused of posting an Islamaphobic comment on Facebook. An investigation is underway Picture: NICK BUTCHER

The deputy leader of Waveney District Council and a Suffolk County councillors has been suspended from the Conservative Party after he allegedly posted an Islamophobic comment about the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on Facebook.

Stephen Ardley has been suspended from the Conservative Party while the investigation is carried out   Picture: NICK BUTCHERStephen Ardley has been suspended from the Conservative Party while the investigation is carried out Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Stephen Ardley, deputy leader of Waveney District Council and a Suffolk county councillor, allegedly said it was “unbelievable” that a Muslim had been elected as mayor.

Mr Ardley’s comment on a Facebook post, believed to have been made two years ago, is said to have read: “I think it’s unbelievable that a Muslim was actually elected the mayor of this great Christian country - oh wait he’s labour so the blind leading the blind just vote red and left.”

Mr Ardley has been suspended by the Conservative Party, pending an investigation.

Conservative councillor Mark Bee, leader of Waveney District Council, said: “An allegation was sent to the chairman of the Conservative Party, Brandon Lewis, concerning Stephen Ardley about a comment alleged to have been made on social media. He has been suspended by the Conservative Party and an investigation will take place. In the meantime Stephen will sit as an independent on both councils and will not be able to be in the cabinet or perform the role of deputy leader until the outcome of the investigation.”

Sarji Ayub, vice chairman of the Norfolk and Suffolk Islamic Mission, said: “I’m very pleased that the Conservative Party are going to be conducting internal enquiries and, if indeed the evidence of wrongdoing is clear, he should of course be struck off. Investigating is absolutely the right way of going about things because it shows they’re taking it seriously.”

Mr Ardley is a district councillor for the Gunton and Corton wards of Lowestoft, and is cabinet member for merger and communities. He represents the Gunton division on the county council and is also a former Lowestoft mayor.

A joint statement from Waveney and Suffolk County Council said: “Waveney and Suffolk County councils understand that Stephen Ardley has been suspended by the Conservative Party, pending an investigation in comments alleged to have been made on social media. This suspension therefore also applies to the Conservative groups on both councils. While this investigation is ongoing it would be inappropriate for the councils to make any further comment at this stage.”

Mr Ardley has been contacted for a comment.

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