General election 2019: Tory candidate Amjad Bashir suspended over anti-Semitism

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Amjad Bashir made the remarks in 2014

The Conservative candidate for Leeds North East has been suspended by the party for making anti-Semitic comments.

Amjad Bashir, former UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and Humber, made the remarks during a European Parliament debate on Gaza in 2014.

A Conservative spokesman said he had been suspended pending an investigation and "election support" withdrawn.

Mr Bashir has apologised "unreservedly" and said he accepted the party's decision.

The pro-Brexit restaurateur was elected as a UKIP MEP in 2014 before he defected to the Conservatives in 2015.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said it was "extremely concerned" by the language he used.

President Marie van der Zyl said: "We would urge the Conservative party to consider the suitability of allowing someone who has publicly aired such repellent views to stand as their candidate anywhere, let alone in a constituency with a vibrant Jewish community."

In a letter to the Conservative Friends of Israel parliamentary chairman Lord Pickles and its honorary president Lord Polak, Mr Bashir apologised for the "distress" his comments caused "within the Jewish community and other groups".

He said: "I am ready to meet with the Board of Deputies at their earliest possible convenience so they can hear from me directly.

"I also intend to meet with local Jewish community groups in Leeds North East. I recognise I owe them an apology in person.

"In due course, I plan to travel to Israel to meet with members of the community to gain direct experience from the situation on the ground there."

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