The Tories have decided to “just ignore” queries regarding a murder arrest warrant for one of their councillors in Lancashire, according to official correspondence. A message dismissing the scandal was sent in error to Scrapbook after we asked Conservative regional office what action they had taken since discovering Pendle councillor Abdul Aziz had been accused of backing a brutal ‘revenge killing’ in Pakistan.
Replying to our editor — rather than forwarding the message to a colleague — a press officer based in the region references discussions on the matter before asking “Shall I just ignore this?”:
And “ignore this” is precisely what Conservative regional office have been doing for weeks. Having been quizzed on the scandal yesterday, David Cameron could have been forgiven for wondering who was to blame for the issue escalating as far as PMQs.
Having invited Cllr Aziz to Downing Street in the first place, plodding backbencher Andrew Stephenson, may have already apologised to the PM. He can probably be joined by regional field director Diane Clarke (OBE), whose office was aware of the allegations at least as far back as 9 October — but failed to act decisively.
Abdul Aziz has denied the allegations, with a friend telling the Telegraph that it is “wrong to exclude people from getting involved in politics based on spurious allegations.”
The full name of the intended recipient of the email — identified only by the initials ‘TC’ — remains a mystery, with lead candidate councillor Tommy Cooney, brother of Pendle leader Joe Cooney, denying involvement.
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