Tory candidate in Wakefield by-election said Brexit was 'built on lies' and 'immigration was overplayed'
Tory candidate Nadeem Ahmed told a local newspaper: “I voted to Leave and I regret the decision. All my friends who voted similarly are the same"
Comments from the Conservative candidate in the Wakefield by-election have resurfaced ahead of the crucial vote, throwing his commitment to the party's dedication to Brexit in doubt.
He claimed the Brexit campaign was “built on lies”, sharing his regret that he voted for it.
Wakefield was one of the crucial Red Wall seats won by the Conservatives in the 2019 general election after being a Labour stronghold since the 1930s.
But a by-election was called after the resignation of Conservative Imran Ahmad Khan, who won in 2019, following his conviction for sexually assaulting a boy.
The Conservatives have selected Wakefield councillor Nadeem Ahmed to defend the 3,358 majority the party secured in 2019.
But now, past comments from the councillor could come back to bite him.
In an interview after the results of the 2016 referendum, Mr Ahmed told a local newspaper: “I voted to leave and I regret the decision.
"All my friends who voted similarly are the same.
“The immigration issue has been overplayed and the most identifiable group are being targeted because we have darker skin colour.
“What is especially worth noting is that the majority of people being targeted, like me, were actually born in Britain. We were raised here and know no other life.”
He went on to tell the Asian Express that leaving the EU had triggered an increase in racist attacks, backing a second referendum at the same time.
Reflecting on a recent attack in which he was the victim he said: “The immigration issue was overplayed in Brexit and now people are being targeted.
“The term immigrant is even something that needs addressing. There are around a million Brits living in Spain, we call them expats. There is a negative connotation to the word immigrant now.”
With the Tiverton and Honiton by-election due to be held on the same day as Wakefield, on June 23, Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces the prospect of losing seats to Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party in the North of England and the Liberal Democrats in the South West.
Both by-elections are being held in controversial circumstances, with Tiverton and Honiton vacated by Neil Parish after he admitted to twice watching pornography in the Commons.
These are the candidates (listed alphabetically by surname):
• Nadeem Ahmed, Conservative Party
• Akef Akbar, Independent
• Paul Bickerdike, Christian Peoples Alliance
• Mick Dodgson, Freedom Alliance. Real People. Real Alternative
• Sir Archibald Stanton Earl 'Eaton, The Official Monster Raving Loony Party
• Jayda Fransen, Independent
• Jordan James Gaskell, UK Independence Party
• David John Rowntree Herdson, Yorkshire Party
• Therese Hirst, English Democrats
• Christopher Richard Jones, Northern Independence Party
• Simon Robert Lightwood, Labour Party
• Jamie Luke Needle, Liberal Democrats
• Ashley Theo Blue Routh, Green Party
• Ashlea Simon, Britain First
• Chris Walsh, Reform UK