Sandwell Council Conservative hopeful resigns after offensive Facebook posts

The deputy chair of a branch of Sandwell Conservatives has resigned after posting offensive social media comments.

Jalal Ahmed, who was the deputy chair for the West Bromwich East branch of Sandwell Conservatives, quit on Friday afternoon after admitting he had used "unacceptable language" in Facebook posts in 2013 and 2018.

One, in the public domain, read: “White minded people are always white, lol”. Another used a racist term.

He said: “I was upset to read a Facebook status I wrote eight years ago which used some unacceptable language. English is not my first language so I did not understand the pain this word could cause back then.

“There are no excuses. I know this word cause offence, so I sincerely apologise for my words to the African and Caribbean community. I would like to work with the community to learn better about their history and culture.

“I would also like to apologise to the Conservative Party who have been a big support to candidates like me from all backgrounds and I am sorry to let you down.”

Mr Ahmed ran as a Conservative candidate in this year’s local elections.

Nicola Richards MP, West Bromwich East, who campaigned for Mr Ahmed in the Greets Green and Lyng ward, said: “I have spoken to Jalal who is very upset to read these comments that have been brought to light.

“He understands they are offensive and I am pleased he has committed to educating himself better about other communities.

“In West Bromwich, we are lucky to have such diverse communities – they make us who we are. I’m proud of this and it’s why our local party wants to reflect our communities as best as possible.

“It also means we take a zero-tolerance approach to racism, and in the past, I have stepped in myself and wouldn’t hesitate to do the same again.

“Fighting racism is something I am passionate about and have been throughout my career. That will never change.

“I do believe Jalal understands the language he used was unacceptable and despite the fact no complaints have been received by Sandwell Conservatives, they have been proactive in dealing with this.”

Connor Jones, chairman of the Sandwell Conservative Federation, said: “It was disappointing to read Jalal’s comments on social media. I have accepted his resignation as branch deputy chair.

“I’m grateful to Jalal for genuinely recognising his mistakes, apologising for them wholeheartedly, and to hear his wish to work with and learn from our African and Caribbean community.

“I will be implementing a review into our social media checks so that we can ensure our candidates, councillors, and officers are the best of the best.

“I’m incredibly proud of our diverse set of councillors; 40 per cent are of BAME descent. I’m looking forward to introducing our next set of diverse candidates that represent every corner of our borough for the next set of elections.”

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