Tory candidate dropped by party over offensive social media posts

Hamish Haddow has been removed from the ballot paper by Welwyn Hatfield Conservatives.

Hamish Haddow has been removed from the ballot paper by Welwyn Hatfield Conservatives. - Credit: Conservatives

A Conservative candidate in May's council elections has been dropped from the ballot paper after posting offensive tweets.

Hamish Haddow will no longer be standing in Hollybush ward following an investigation into his posts by party officials.

The matter was first raised by Welwyn Hatfield Labour Party, who demanded a public apology from the local Tory party and called for Mr Haddow's immediate withdrawal as a candidate.

The tweets included an attack on MP Diane Abbott which also mocked the plight of the 800 P&O employees fired last week, an exchange in which Mr Haddow suggests he will “support Putin” over the President of the United States, and a homophobic attack towards the Mayor of London.

Conservative leader Cllr Tony Kingsbury said they had been alerted to the offensive postings on Mr Haddow's Twitter feed which led them to remove him as a candidate.

But he stressed although they had no reason to believe he was racist, homophobic, or transphobic, they found language which was unacceptable, inappropriate, and not fitting of a Conservative councillor.

"Hamish has assured us he does not hold discriminatory opinions himself. I have no reason to disbelieve him and he wholly regrets and apologises for any offence his language has caused. But the borough council I lead and the Conservative Association of which I am a part have a zero tolerance policy towards the language we discovered, so the decision was made that Hamish will no longer be a local election candidate.

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"We have ensured the offensive content has been removed from the public domain. As per party rules, Mr Haddow's status as a member is to be discussed at the Association's next committee meeting a few weeks from now, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this point. 

"Our response to what we discovered demonstrates how seriously everyone at Welwyn Hatfield Conservative Association takes the vital commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity."

Welwyn Hatfield Labour Party said they welcomed the decision to remove Mr Haddow from standing as a candidate in the forthcoming elections, adding: "It is very clear that Mr Haddow is not a fit person to be a candidate for public office."

Mr Haddow's Twitter account has now been deleted.