MK Conservatives are under further pressure to suspend a candidate after evidence has emerged that he recently made a racist post on a community Facebook page.
Paul Bartlett, MK Conservative candidate in Stony Stratford, is already facing calls to stand down after details of upheld serious bullying, harassment and intimidation complaints came to light, with the last one dating back to just November 2018.
Now it has been revealed that Mr Bartlett used a community Facebook Group to claim a local resident opposed freedom of speech due to the alleged origin of their name.
In the post to a local resident, dating from earlier this year, Mr Bartlett says, “that name is an origin from the UAE…. Not exactly known for its freedoms…”. The resident has now made a complaint.
After the proven cases of bullying and harassment came to light and calls were made for Mr Bartlett to be dropped as a Tory candidate, MK Conservatives defended his actions as “historic,” and used the excuse that they were “because he cared,” citing an illness suffered by Mr Bartlett a number of years ago, despite examples dating to both before and after his illness. The last formal complaint being upheld in November 2018, and the latest Facebook post just earlier this year
Nationally the Conservatives are facing calls to address Islamophobia in its grassroots membership.
An MK Labour spokesperson said: “All forms of racism are unacceptable. Making a comment about the origin of a local resident’s name when engaged in discussion is unacceptable. It is further evidence of totally unacceptable behaviour by Mr Bartlett, yet the MK Conservatives still won’t act.”
A member of the public, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “Making an assumption about my ethnic origin by my surname, or that my name has anything to do with my beliefs or political views, is wrong. It is a disgrace he made those comments to me. It is racist. After seeing stories about Paul Bartlett I can confirm this is who he is, consistently displaying bullying and aggressive behaviour on local community Facebook pages. I have made a complaint to the local MK Conservatives about this comment, but so far I have not had anything sufficient back.”
The MK Labour spokesperson concluded: “Since the issues about Mr Bartlett came to light, we have been inundated with similar stories. We are referring people to make complaints to the MK Conservatives. Rather than defend these cases as historic when they are not, and make excuses, the MK Conservatives should take action now. Councillors and members of the public have a right to not face intimidation and harassment. Paul Bartlett is not fit to be a councillor because of his actions. We are certain more issues about his ongoing behaviour will continue to come to light.”