Political correctness claims another truthful victim
A Conservative Party candidate has stepped down after a row over his comments that Enoch Powell was “right” on immigration.
Nigel Hastilow, who was candidate for Halesowen and Rowley Regis, made the decision after meeting party chairman Caroline Spelman.
His comments, made in a newspaper column, were criticised by senior Tories David Davis and George Osborne.
Labour minister Peter Hain said they showed the Tories’ “racist underbelly”.
Enoch Powell was sacked from the Conservative shadow cabinet after a controversial speech in 1968 against uncontrolled immigration.
Mr Hastilow made the comments in a column for the Express and Star newspaper in Wolverhampton – where Mr Powell had been the MP at the time of his 1968 speech.
“Many insist: ‘Enoch Powell was right’. Enoch, once MP for Wolverhampton South-West, was sacked from the Conservative front bench and marginalised politically for his 1968 ‘rivers of blood’ speech, warning that uncontrolled immigration would change our country irrevocably.
“He was right. It has changed dramatically.”
Following his meeting with Mrs Spelman he said he was “very sorry” if his remarks had undermined “the progress David Cameron has made on the issue of migration”.
He has been in the news before for his outspoken comments – in 2001, when he was the Tory candidate for Birmingham Edgbaston, he wrote on his website that the party was a “lost cause” – and was quoted by then Labour PM Tony Blair in the Commons.
In his resignation statement on Sunday, Mr Hastilow said: “I have been here once before when William Hague was party leader and I have no wish to go there again.”