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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 14:56 GMT
Tory HQ to decide Hastilow future
Nigel Hastilow
The local party did not make a decision on Mr Hastilow
The future of a Conservative candidate who said Enoch Powell "was right" in some things he said on immigration is to be decided by the national party.

Nigel Hastilow resigned last week and the Tory executive in Halesowen and Rowley Regis, in the West Midlands, met on Monday to decide whether to accept.

But chairman Mary Docker said members had "resolved to request advice from the party board" instead.

Mr Hastilow said he had received hundreds of letters of support.

Spelman meeting

In an article for the Wolverhampton Express and Star, Mr Hastilow said Mr Powell had been "right" in his famous 1968 "rivers of blood" speech, in saying that uncontrolled immigration would change the UK "irrevocably".

After a meeting with national party chairman Caroline Spelman, he resigned as a candidate rather than apologise and be bound by a ruling that future articles be vetted by Tory Central Office.

It had been thought the Halesowen and Rowley Regis party might refuse to accept the resignation, further embarrassing the national leadership.

But Mrs Docker said: "A meeting of the Halesowen and Rowley Regis Conservative Association Executive was held on Monday evening and resolved to request advice from the party board."

Mr Hastilow, former editor of the Birmingham Post, told the Express and Star: "I have had hundreds if not thousands of messages of support which makes me feel that I should continue.

"But I'm not going to put myself in opposition to the Conservative Party."

Mr Hastilow's comments on Mr Powell - himself a Midlands MP - were made days after party leader David Cameron was praised for his efforts to "de-racialise" immigration.

He was criticised by senior Conservatives, including shadow home secretary David Davis who called them "very unwise" and said: "You cannot just stumble around throwing out comments which are insensitive or inflammatory."

In 2001, when a prospective candidate for Edgbaston, Mr Hastilow wrote on his official website that the Conservatives were "a lost cause" under then-leader William Hague.

In his letter of resignation on 4 November he said, as it was the second mistake he had made, it was better to go, as it might happen again.

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