Saturday, March 21, 2015

UK: Star Tory candidate plotted with race thugs to stage fake EDL demo in cynical bid to win votes

 Tory Election candidate Afzal Amin (pictured) was suspended after plotting with far-Right extremists to stir up racial hatred in a cynical bid to win votes
A key Tory Election candidate was suspended last night after plotting with far-Right extremists to stir up racial hatred in a cynical bid to win votes. Afzal Amin hatched a scheme to persuade the English Defence League to announce an inflammatory march against a new £18million ‘mega-mosque’. But – as he revealed in secretly filmed footage obtained by The Mail on Sunday – the plan was that the demonstration would never actually go ahead. And when the phoney rally was called off, the fiercely ambitious Amin, a Muslim, intended to take credit for defusing the situation – winning over voters, and police, in the marginal seat of Dudley North. In return for going along with the scheme, the former Army captain promised the EDL members he would be their ‘unshakeable ally’ who would help bring their extreme views into the mainstream if he was elected to Parliament. Amin also wanted EDL members to be paid to canvass on his behalf in Dudley – against election law. But his devious plot was secretly filmed by former EDL leader Tommy Robinson, who blew the whistle on Amin’s scheme because he objected to being used as a pawn in his bizarre power game. Amin, who has been described on his Tory Party website as a former Army education officer to Princes William and Harry, outlined his plan at an Indian restaurant in Birmingham on Monday. There he made an apparent offer to Robinson and current EDL chairman Steve Eddowes to covertly pay EDL members to canvass on his behalf. But they were even more shocked by 40-year-old Amin proposing a phantom protest only weeks after a real demonstration in Dudley by 600 EDL supporters led to ugly flashpoints and 30 arrests. In The Mail on Sunday’s sensational tapes Amin – who openly covets the Prime Minister’s job: Promises the plot will bring ‘EDL out of the shadows and into the mainstream political debate’. Claims that while serving as Harry and William’s education officer he headbutted a man in a hoodie whose ‘face exploded’. Replies to a question about whether he likes spicy food by saying: ‘No, I’m not a Paki, am I?’ At 6pm on Saturday, after Prime Minister David Cameron promised ‘swift, decisive action’ on the allegation, Tory Party chairman Grant Shapps suspended Amin from the party, pending an investigation. A Tory spokesman said: ‘Following an emergency meeting, it has been decided unanimously to suspend him as a candidate with immediate effect. The Conservative Party views this as a matter of extremely serious concern.’ The ‘Currygate’ plot began in January with Amin’s first meeting with Eddowes and Robinson, who, despite leaving the EDL because of concerns about its violent reputation, remains close to many senior figures. At that meeting in a Toby Carvery, Amin genuinely tried to persuade the EDL leaders to call off their February protest, but in vain. Eddowes, 48, recalled: ‘He had wanted us to cancel our protest against the super-mosque in Dudley that we had planned for February 7. ‘That wasn’t going to happen so he just talked about himself a lot and how he knew Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames and had met David Cameron.’ The EDL men admitted they were impressed by the Tory hopeful. But at last Monday’s meeting, Eddowes said he was incredulous. He said: ‘Tommy had told me that Afzal wanted to meet again and Tommy thought there was something underhand going on. He didn’t go into details. ‘At that meeting, I just listened with bemusement. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. What he was suggesting was to set up a demo and then cancel it after the idea had made the news.’ When Robinson says of Eddowes: ‘But you know if he’s going to put out a demo, you have to put out a demo soon really,’ Amin explains: ‘You’ve only got to announce it, you don’t have to do it.’ Amin added: ‘This is my fantasy. If I could demonstrate to the people in Dudley that I can be a positive voice for community cohesion, for development, for campaigning against the evils and the terrorism and the child grooming and all the rest of it, then that would help me a lot in the forthcoming Election. ‘One way of doing that is, if you were to announce a second march about the mosque… and then we have two meetings with the chief of police, members of the Muslim community, we all play our roles, you say “Yeah we’re going to do a march, we’re campaigning and so on”. We have a second meeting where things are a bit calmer then at the third one, we have a press conference where we say, “We were going to do a march. The chief police asked Afzal Amin, members of the Muslim community, we’ve sat together and… we’re going to work closely together”.’ Amin elaborated on his plot in a phone call on Wednesday and in a second meeting at a branch of Pizza Express in London on Thursday. At that meeting, Amin explained how he wanted Robinson to pay EDL supporters to canvass on his behalf. ‘I’ll put it to you bluntly. I need two white working class lads to go round those area to say to people, “You support the Army, if you support the troops then vote for this guy”. That’s what I need. When Robinson suggested that would cost £500 a week, Amin replied: ‘What’s that, £250 each a week? I they do April 4 to the first week of May, that’ll be loads… from our perspective, they’re volunteers.’ It is illegal to pay people to canvass in an Election under the Representation of the People Act 1983. Eddowes said: ‘This was the same guy who had told us he wanted to be Prime Minister. It seemed entirely dishonest to me. The fake demonstration was fraudulently wasting the time of the authorities. Then he said he would pay our members to canvass for him at the Election. I don’t know if that’s legal but it didn’t seem right to me. It felt like he was trying to buy us off. ‘I was really disappointed in the man. I’d met him earlier this year and was really impressed. To me he ticked every box with his British Army background and seemed like a man of real integrity but when I left that meeting on Monday I felt like I wanted nothing more to do with him.’ Robinson echoed that opinion, saying: ‘I was stunned that this respectable man was talking about bribing members of the EDL and organising fake marches. I was equally alarmed when he said he had violently attacked someone. I haven’t been an angel, but this man could win his Election and I felt I had to do something.’ When The MoS confronted Amin in Dudley yesterday, he described the allegations as ‘completely untrue’, adding that a second march ‘was suggested and we rejected it, and we even informed the police about it.’ Asked whether he had met Robinson and Eddowes at the Birmingham restaurant, he replied: ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. ‘The very best way to do deal with this is with the police because they are very serious allegations.’When it was put to Amin that he was trying to stir up racial hatred to win a seat, he replied: ‘That’s absolutely untrue, that’s utter rubbish.’ Yesterday, after The Mail on Sunday approached Amin, he said in an angry phone call to Robinson: ‘We’re trying to prevent racial discord.’ Robinson replied: ‘By setting up a fake demonstration? Not just that, Afzal, even the fact you wanted to pay EDL supporters to help your campaign to get you in as a Conservative it’s all dishonesty.’ Amin: ‘Who suggested paying anybody? It’s complete rubbish.’ Robinson: ‘There’s a recording.’ Amin: ‘I know exactly what I said and at no point did I say anything about that.’ The meeting between Amin and Tommy Robinson was born out of the two men’s shared opposition to Muslim extremism. Ex-teacher Amin was brought up in the Black Country, joined the Army after 9/11 and trained at Sandhurst. He served three tours in Afghanistan and became captain in the Army’s education service, where he is said to have taught Princes Harry and William at Windsor. Amin was the first ethnic minority candidate to be chosen to fight May’s election for the Tories, in the key battleground of Dudley North, which has a Labour majority of 649. West Midlands Police said last night they had not been made aware of any future proposed demonstrations in Dudley by the EDL. Later moving into an educational role, he says he was a personal tutor to Princes William and Harry, as well as serving as chairman of the Armed Forces Muslim Association. After leaving the Army he set up a consultancy called The Curzon Education Ltd, which won a £120,000 grant to give lectures to schoolchildren about the role of Commonwealth soldiers in the First World War. It sparked controversy as the grant was given by the Department for Communities, where his ‘political acquaintance’ Baroness Warsi was a Minister. Mr Amin worked at the Army’s Counterinsurgency And Stabilisation Centre and has given lectures at the UK Defence Academy. He describes himself on Twitter as ‘International Conflict and Stabilisation Adviser Government Strategist Fragile States.’ On the photosharing website Flickr he posted a picture of himself meeting Sir Nicholas Soames – Winston Churchill’s MP grandson – and wrote: ‘In late 2003 I was working on anti-hijacking operations in Southern Basra. We were visited by Sir Nicholas Soames MP whom I briefed about our work tackling gangs with Iraqi police.’

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