THE chairman of South Tees Conservative Association has been suspended from the party in an Islamophobia row.

Cllr Malcolm Griffiths, Conservative councillor for Hutton, has been suspended amid claims he shared, commented on and liked Islamophobic content on his social media pages.

The posts in question came to light after a dossier was forwarded to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The dossier reveals that Cllr Griffiths, who is also chairman of the South Tees Conservative Association, posted an article on Facebook in 2017 claiming German Muslims had campaigned to end the Oktoberfest beer festival, because it was “un-Islamic”.

Cllr Griffiths then liked a comment posted on the post which said: “They can go back to where they came from. Try going to a Muslim country and ask them to stop Muslim traditions because it offends incoming Christians. How outrageous is sharia behaviour.”

In another post in 2017, Cllr Griffiths used a quote from Nicolai Sennels – author of Holy Wrath: Among Criminal Muslims – which suggested inbreeding is disproportionately high amongst the Muslim population.

Simon Clarke, Conservative candidate for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said: “While I cannot comment on an individual case while it is under investigation the Conservative Party takes all allegations of racism or Islamophobia extremely seriously.”

A Conservative party spokesperson said: “All those found to be party members have been suspended immediately, pending investigation.

“The swift action we take on not just anti-Muslim discrimination, but discrimination of any kind is testament to the seriousness with which we take such issues.

“The Conservative party will never stand by when it comes to prejudice and discrimination of any kind.

“That’s why we are already establishing the terms of an investigation to make sure that such instances are isolated and robust processes are in place to stamp them out as and when they occur.”

The dossier also detailed some social media posts attributed to former Conservative councillor for Grangefield, Stockton, Cllr Aidan Zhidane Cockerill.

It is understood that Mr Cockerill has not been a member of the Conservative Party since he resigned from Stockton Council in May 2011.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has attempted to contact Mr Cockerill.