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Conservatives suspend Swale election candidate Lee Burgess for Facebook post

A candidate in next week's election has been suspended by the Conservative Party for posting offensive material on his personal Facebook profile.

Lee Burgess who is standing for the Sittingbourne ward of Woodstock, said: "I would like to offer my total and unreserved apology for the recently highlighted posts from my past on Facebook."

His 60-day suspension was announced today.

Lee Burgess
Lee Burgess

Mr Burgess added: "I’m sorry for any offence caused to any individual or group of people.

"I understand they were in very poor taste and could cause offence or distress.

"Having undertaken equality and diversity training I’m confident that going forward I’m aware of more sensitive issues.

"I apologise also to Conservative candidates and members for bringing the party into disrepute."

Mr Burgess will remain on the ballot paper for the Swale council elections as the Conservative candidate for the Sittingbourne ward of Woodstock because the suspension comes after the last date when nominations can be withdrawn.

A spokesman for the Sittingbourne and Sheppey Conservatives said: "Following his suspension, Mr Burgess has fulfilled the requirements demanded by the Conservative Party, including removing the posts with immediate effect, apologising for his actions and undertaking equality and diversity training.

"Having taken these steps, Mr Burgess will be reinstated at the end of his set suspension period which will mean he will be able to sit as a Conservative councillor if he is elected.

"The Sittingbourne and Sheppey Conservative Association would like to make clear that no other local Conservative candidates have been suspended, despite certain allegations on social media."

Mr Burgess of School Lane, Tunstall, was formerly a Kent county councillor for Ukip.

In March, Swale's council leader Cllr Andrew Bowles was suspended by the Conservative Party for a tweet about Tommy Robinson.

Swale goes to the polls on Thursday.

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