[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 6 November 2006, 16:39 GMT
Tory suspended over racist e-mail
Councillor Ellie Bland
Tory councillor Ellenor Bland denies racism allegations

A Conservative parliamentary hopeful has been removed from the list of candidates and suspended from the party over the forwarding of a racist e-mail.

The Illegal Immigrants Poem, sent from Wiltshire town councillor Ellenor Bland's e-mail address, jokes in a mock foreign voice about welfare claims.

She has been suspended pending a full investigation by Conservative HQ.

Mrs Bland told the BBC it was her husband who had forwarded the e-mail, adding: "I'm not a racist."

'Totally unacceptable'

The poem in the forwarded e-mail, which is sent on from Mrs Bland's account with the message 'Oh yes! Ellie', ends with a picture of the white cliffs of Dover and the words "piss off - we're full".

Liberal Democrat campaigns chairman Edward Davey, who wrote to the Conservatives and Commission for Racial Equality, said: "It is totally unacceptable for elected representatives to be distributing this kind of material.

"Racism has absolutely no place in British politics and I am asking the CRE to advise on what further action can be taken."

A Conservative spokeswoman said: "We disassociate ourselves entirely from the sentiments in the e-mail."

Mrs Bland said: "It was forwarded on by my husband, who took it in the form that he thought it was sent and that was a light-hearted view, which, again, anybody broadly thinking would not have made anything out of it, as has been made to be at this present time."

She added that "apart from clocking my husband around the ears, there's not a lot I can do about it".

Mrs Bland was the Conservative candidate for Swansea East in last year's general election.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific