Tory quits candidate role and joins Labour amid election infighting

Claim and counter claim as candidate moves to Labour Party

Friday, 25th March — By Isabelle Stanley

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Ali Hassan Ali, right,  during his time with the Tories 


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THE Tories are in turmoil after an election candidate quit amid campaign infighting– just six weeks from polling day.

Ali Hassan Ali, a former police officer, was due to be a Conservative candidate in the West Hampstead ward.

But last night (Wednesday) he announced his resignation, telling people it would be a “disaster” if the party gained power in Camden.

He instead said he had become a Labour member, as he could not bear to be associated with the Tories any more.

Yesterday, a debate raged about what lay at the root of the infighting, Mr Hassan Ali said it was a “toxic” environment, with colleagues stabbing each other in the back, while party organisers said he had resigned after being confronted about a claim that he had been abusive.

Both sides deny any wrong-doing and the accuracy of the opposing version of events.

Conservative leader Oliver Cooper

Mr Hassan Ali said: “It all started heating up four or five weeks ago. The group chat has been warfare, people are leaving and coming in.

“When I joined I thought it was a well oiled machine, but now I see it, they shoot themselves in the foot, that’s why there’s only seven of them in the council.”

He said some of the other candidates had told him not to bother really canvassing, and just to take a picture on the street and say he had done it – a claim completely rejected by the party.

Mr Hassan Ali said the party would need to replace its leader, Councillor Oliver Cooper, in order to improve.

The whole experience, he said, had made him realise that “I actually agree more with the Labour and Lib Dem parties”, adding: “I realised that it would be a disaster if the Conservative lot were in power. They can’t even manage their own house, how could they manage the council?”

He said he had now decided he had to work with other parties to sabotage the Conservatives, adding: “It’s sad because they could have been a good party.”

Mr Hassan Ali said he had contacted the Labour party and been told his recruitment would be “too good an opportunity to pass up.”

But Cllr Cooper had a different account, and said yesterday that Mr Hassan Ali had sent abuse to police officers and Tory activists.

“His behaviour fell far short of the standards required of a public official,” he said.

“After we asked him to be reinterviewed by the selection committee to explain his behaviour, he resigned. Camden has already had a Labour councillor resign for sending online abuse, and we weren’t willing to tolerate it on the Conservative benches.”

The Hampstead and Kilburn Conservative Association said: “A formal complaint was lodged against Ali Hassan Ali. After some discussion, Ali reconsidered his position and decided to step down as a candidate and leave the party.”

Tube driver Peter Horne has been now been confirmed as new West Hampstead candidate.

Mr Hassan Ali denies all claims that he was abusive, and denies there was ever any discussion about him being deselected.

He said he always opposed any form of abuse and had been the victim of online trolling himself by anonymous accounts in the past.

He said: “This is the first time I’m being made aware of these allegations and I absolutely deny this. They never told me that I was facing deselection.”

Mr Hassan Ali quit the Met in 2019 and called the force institutionally sexist and racist – later falling out with the then borough commander Raj Kohli.

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