"A former Tory Parliamentary candidate was suspended by the party last night after complaining that people bidding to become an MP did not have ‘normal’ English names. Councillor Peter Hobbins is accused of sending racist emails to colleagues attacking the list of prospective Parliamentary candidates for the Orpington seat in Kent.
Mr Hobbins, who stood unsuccessfully for the Tories at the 2001 election and was shortlisted for the London mayoral race, suggested he should change his name to ‘Petrado’ to succeed in the party. One email said: ‘I have been contacted by a Mr Dilon Gumraj and a Zerha Zaidi and others who are all on the approved Conservative Parliamentary Candidates list. ‘Not one of them has a ‘normal’ English name.
‘Why are the Candidates Department so keen on these foreign names?!!!! Maybe I should change my name to something foreign – how does Petrado Indiano Hobbinso sound to you?!’
Mr Hobbins also said he was fed up with reading about ‘Africa’ on the CVs of would-be candidates.
A Tory spokesman said: ‘Councillor Hobbins has been immediately suspended from the Conservative Party and from the Conservative Group on Bromley council and he will play no part in the selection of the Parliamentary candidate. There is no room for racism in the Conservative Party.’
The man was actually making a serious point. It is arguably true that Anglo voters are more likely to vote for candidates with Anglo names. Any political party in England that puts up a candidate with an obviously foreign name may well be doing a bit of foot-shooting.
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