Redcar Tory councillor suspended in Islamophobia probe
A Conservative councillor has been suspended from the party in an Islamophobia row.
Malcolm Griffiths, who represents Hutton on Redcar and Cleveland Council, on Teesside, is alleged to have shared, commented on and liked Islamophobic content on social media.
A Conservative Party spokesman said an investigation into the allegations was under way.
Mr Griffiths has been approached for comment.
The posts in question came to light after a dossier on 15 current and 10 former Conservative councillors was forwarded to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Mr Griffiths, who is chairman of the South Tees Conservative Association, is said to have posted an article on Facebook in 2017 claiming German Muslims had campaigned to end the Oktoberfest beer festival because it was "un-Islamic".
He is then alleged to have liked a comment on the post which said: "They can go back to where they came from. Try going to a Muslim country and ask them to stop Muslim traditions because it offends incoming Christians. How outrageous is sharia behaviour."
Council has 'no power'
In another 2017 post, Mr Griffiths is said to have used a quote from Nicolai Sennels - author of Holy Wrath: Among Criminal Muslims - which suggested inbreeding is disproportionately high among the Muslim population.
A Conservative Party spokesperson said the current and former councillors featured in the dossier were "suspended immediately" pending the outcome of the investigation.
A statement added: "The swift action we take on not just anti-Muslim discrimination but discrimination of any kind is testament to the seriousness with which we take such issues."
Redcar and Cleveland Council said it had received complaints which would be "investigated as appropriate in line with normal internal procedures".
"However, under current legislation, there is no power available for the council to suspend or remove a councillor from office regardless of the outcome of any investigation," a spokesman said.