'Boris Johnson should be suspended' says councillor expelled from Conservatives over 'Islamophobic' comments
PUBLISHED: 17:08 15 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 15 August 2018
The former deputy leader of a district council has said the Conservative party are "running around a barrel looking for a corner" in relation to its handling of the row surrounding Boris Johnson's remarks about the burqa.
Stephen Ardley, who was expelled from the Conservatives last month for posting allegedly Islamophobic comments on Facebook about Sadiq Khan, blasted his former party.
He said the former foreign secretary and mayor of London, Boris Johnson, should have been suspended for saying women in burqas look like “letter boxes” and “bank robbers” and that it was unfair that he was treated differently.
Mr Ardley said: “If the same rules apply then yes, he should have been suspended.
“The Tory party is running around the barrel looking for a corner. I don’t think it is fair at all. There doesn’t seem to be a set process to deal with these sorts of things.
“If there is a rule for one there should be a rule for all.
“I think if we keep culling the Tories because of these things you are going to lose a lot of experience and it is doing more harm than good.”
Mr Ardley, who now sits as an independent on Waveney District and Suffolk County councils, also branded the focus on Islamophobia and anti-semitism within the main two parties as a witch hunt.
He said: “I think it is now becoming a witch hunt, not just for the Tories but for Labour as well.
“It is just getting too much now because we will find a lot of people don’t want this. If it is offensive and hatred then they should be dealt with but if it is that you are also breaking the law.”
He added: “It is not for me to judge [whether Johnson’s statement was Islamophobic]. “I was classed as Islamophobic even though I am not and I don’t think Boris is Islamophobic. It was probably intended as a comical quip taken out of context.
“I like his charisma although he comes across as a buffoon he is a very intelligent man and I have always liked him.
“It is a shame he slipped up and said something like that and it is all blown out of proportion like mine was.”
The Conservative Party and the party chairman Brandon Lewis have been contacted for comment.