Tories suspend former candidate who claims he was forced off election ballot paper
Party to discuss expelling Hamish Hunter
27 September, 2018 — By Richard Osley
A FORMER election candidate in dispute with the Conservative Party has been suspended and warned he could face expulsion after being accused of trying to force a new by-election in the Hampstead Town council ward.
Organisers in the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency met last night (Wednesday) before sending a letter to Hamish Hunter to tell him of the suspension.
Mr Hunter said the “mask had slipped” and the attempt to expel him was another example of how he was being badly treated. He has openly talked about his troubles with depression and says the he was pushed out because of his mental health issues. This is wholly refuted by the party, which says he voluntarily resigned.
The New Journal reported earlier this month how Mr Hunter had complained to the party about the manner of his departure from the council election campaign earlier this year. He was later replaced as a candidate by Maria Higson, one of the three Conservative candidates who were successful in winning council seats at the polls in Hampstead Town.
When an internal investigation found no wrong-doing by the local association this summer, Mr Hunter challenged the findings and threatened legal action against the association. He has since begun tweeting private Whatsapp messages sent to him in the past by Councillor Oliver Cooper, his former running mate who is now leader of Camden Conservatives.
Constituency organisers have made no comment on the case, referring queries to the party’s central office.
In the suspension letter, however, association chair Kirsty Roberts said last night’s meeting had found that Mr Hunter had been “threatening” to members in a bid to engineer a new election in Hampstead Town, at which he could stand as a candidate again, and had unfairly taken controls of the Facebook page of the Holborn and St Pancras Conservative Association.
Mr Hunter said: “The Hampstead and Kilburn Conservative Association has finally given a public response on my case and the mask has slipped. They pushed me out as a candidate because of my mental health issues, unlawfully and in breach of the party rules. They dealt with my legitimate complaint regarding those events with contempt and disregard for the serious issues it raised.”
He added: “Now they have responded to my speaking out about their behaviour by moving to push me out of the party. Kicking out people who they don’t like is a classic and familiar course of behaviour. Presumably they will pretend I resigned this time as well. This action should be seen as what it is: an admission of guilt.”