London: Two Conservative councilors in
Ribble Valley, Lancashire, have been suspended from the party
for circulating by email a racist joke about immigrants from
India and elsewhere, sparking criticism of the party two days
before the May 6 poll.
Simon Farnsworth, a Ribble Valley councillor, sent the
joke on to Ken Hind, his fellow councillor and a former
Conservative parliamentary candidate in Selby and Lancashire
West at the 1997 and 1992 elections.
Hind then sent it on to a long list of Conservative
When The Guardian drew the Conservative party`s
attention to the email, the two men were suspended.
Immigration has been a major issue in the elections,
reflecting public concern over the numbers of immigrants
entering the country in recent years, and the financial and
other benefits they receive.
The joke runs as follows: A Somalian arrives in the
UK as a new immigrant.
He stops the first person he sees walking down the
street and says, "Thank you Mr UK man for letting me into this
country, giving me housing, money for food, free medical care,
free education and no taxes!" The passerby says, "You are
mistaken, I am an Afghani [sic]!" The man goes on and
encounters another passer by.
"Thank you for having such a beautiful country here in
the UK!" The person says, "I not from the UK, I am Iraqi!"
The new arrival walks further, and the next person he sees he
stops, shakes his hand and says, `Thank you for the wonderful
UK!` That person puts up his hand and says, "I am from
Pakistan, I am not from the UK!" He finally sees a nice lady
and asks, "Are you British?" She says, "No, I am from India!"
Puzzled, he asks her, "Where are all the British?" The
Indian lady checks her watch and says: "Probably all at work."
The email ended with another joke: "IF YOU DON`T PASS
THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS YOU WILL RECEIVE 3 ILLEGAL
IMMIGRANTS ABSOLUTELY FREE."
A Tory spokesman said: "Simon Farnsworth and Ken Hind
have been suspended from the Party. The contents of this email
have no place in the Conservative party."
Hind said he apologised to "all those people from the
nations mentioned in the joke. It was not my intention to
insult their racial origins, and I deeply regret passing on
this item as I recognise now that it could cause offence."
"In my daily life I deal with many people of different
racial origins in our diverse community and in our
relationships get on well with them. I deprecate those who are
racist. On many occasions I have been outspoken in my
condemnation of those who incite racial hatred and am
committed to developing an integrated tolerant community in
which all races creeds and religions live side by side in
peace," he said.
"I am privileged to name amongst my friends and
associates many who are of Asian or African origin. I wish to
emphasise that any apparent insult or criticism contained in
the joke does not reflect my views or those of the