Conservative party continues investigation into Hastings candidate’s ‘offensive comments’

The Conservative party’s investigation into ‘offensive comments’ by a candidate who stood in this month’s borough council election is ‘still ongoing’, the Hastings and Rye Conservative chairman has confirmed.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 9:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 9:38 am
John Sydes. Picture supplied by Hastings and Rye Conservatives SUS-210429-135156001

John Sydes was criticised for a series of tweets he wrote in March commenting on race and the ‘race card’.

He stood as a Conservative candidate in Hastings Borough Council’s Castle ward election on May 6, where he was beaten by Labour’s Claire Carr.

Mr Sydes claimed last week he had been ‘cleared of any wrongdoing’ following a national hearing at the Conservative central office.

However, in response, Hastings and Rye Conservative chairman Martin Clarke said: “The investigation into the conduct of John Sydes is still ongoing. As the formal investigation has not yet concluded, no decision has been made. Association officers will be meeting in due course to review the evidence collected and rule on Mr Sydes future status within the Conservative Party.”

Mr Sydes’ social media comments were raised with Hastings and Rye MP Sally-Ann Hart, at which point the constituency’s Conservative association ‘instigated an urgent investigation’ into the matter, Mr Clarke said on April 29 when news of the investigation was first reported.

At the time, Mr Clarke said: “We have been made aware of offensive comments on social media by John Sydes, a candidate for borough council in Castle Ward. Offensive language is unacceptable, and these comments do not reflect our values as an association or as a party. Therefore we have instigated an urgent investigation into this matter.”