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Labour candidate's allegiance questioned after dining out with Nigel Farage

By Peter Madeley | West Bromwich | General Election 2019 | Published:

Pro-Europe West Bromwich East candidate Ibrahim Dogus admitted meeting with the former Ukip leader in a restaurant.

Ibrahim Dogus (right) enjoys a meal with Nigel Farage

A pro-Europe Labour parliamentary candidate has had his political allegiance questioned after an image emerged of him enjoying a bite to eat with Nigel Farage.

In the picture, West Bromwich East candidate Ibrahim Dogus can be seen smiling as he sits next to the then Ukip leader in a restaurant.

Mr Dogus, a Kurdish kebab restaurateur from London who is the current Mayor of Lambeth, is Jeremy Corbyn's choice to replace Tom Watson in the Sandwell seat.

He is an avid Remainer who put the message "Brexit is bad" on the bottom of receipts in his restaurants – a stance which puts him at odds with Brexit Party leader Mr Farage, who wants a clean break from the EU.

The image has led to questions about Mr Dogus's true political allegiance, and follows revelations that he has previously donated funds to the Conservative Party.

Government Cabinet minister Gavin Williamson, the parliamentary candidate for South Staffordshire, said Labour voters were likely to be "confused" at the "mixed messages" put out by Mr Dogus.

"Here is a man who is standing in a strongly pro-Brexit seat, who is clearly against Brexit," he said.

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"Yet he appears to have no problem with cosying up to Nigel Farage.

"He does not appear to have any deep convictions at all and it is difficult to see how the people of West Bromwich East could trust him."

Ibrahim Dogus (second right) is a friend of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

West Bromwich East Tory candidate Nicola Richards, said: "The reality is in West Bromwich East it is a straight choice between myself a Black Country woman with a consistent record of backing Brexit, and the Labour Lambeth candidate whose campaign seems mired in controversy and problems."

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Mr Dogus said: "As part of my cross-party work on behalf of Turkish and Kurdish community organisations, I have met and attended events with MPs, MEPs and figures from across the political spectrum."

Mr Dogus was parachuted in to West Bromwich East following Mr Watson's shock decision to stand down earlier this month.

He had been rejected as a candidate in Vauxhall and Birmingham Hall Green.

He has proved to be a controversial choice, after it emerged he was forced to surrender £11,500 in cash after the UK Border Agency accused him of trying to smuggle it out of the country for the purpose of "unlawful conduct", including "tax evasion".

Mr Dogus insists he did nothing wrong, and has since described sending cash abroad in a suitcase as "not an unusual practice".

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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