A FORMER councillor suspended from the Conservative Party after sending e-mails complaining prospective parliamentary candidates do not have “normal” English names denies he is a racist.

Peter Hobbins, who was a councillor for Orpington, told News Shopper he regretted sending the e-mails, which were leaked to us last November.

The 39-year-old had written to fellow Tory councillors bemoaning the list of candidates to represent the party in the general election.

Former history and politics teacher Mr Hobbins, of Clovelly Way, Orpington, has until now been unable to talk to the press following an agreement with the school he worked at.

Speaking for the first time about the e-mails, Mr Hobbins said: “It was after a long day. I suppose I was letting off a bit of steam. It was not meant to be racist. A lot of my friends from all backgrounds weren’t at all offended.

“The residents I spoke to in Orpington felt I had been given a rough ride. It was just unfortunate (the emails) were leaked.

“Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a racist.”

In a statement he added: “Taken at face value you will see that my emails were ‘tongue in cheek’ and more akin to a script out of Little Britain although I apologise if anyone had taken offence.”

Last month Mr Hobbins received a certificate from Bromley Council recognising his service to the community as a councillor between 2006 and 2010.

However when he opened the packaging he discovered the glass was smashed and the frame warped.

He said: “The state of it was smashed like someone had stamped all over it. I wasn’t sure if someone had done it on purpose or whether it was a genuine mistake.”

On the subject of political correctness, Mr Hobbins said in his statement: “In this country today just about anyone is afraid to express any views whatsoever in the fear they could be accused of being racist, sexist or whatever you like.

“Personally, I would rather you dig your own grave than not telling me what you really want to say."

In response to the damaged certificate, a council spokesperson said: “Certificates are presented to all retiring councillors and I can confirm one would have been sent to Peter Hobbins.”


An e-mail to Orpington Conservative Association chairman John Esler read:

“I have been contacted by a Mr Dilon Gumraj and a Zerha Zaidi and others who are all on the approved Conservative Parliamentary Candidates list.

“Not one of them has a ‘normal’ English name.

“They want to be the PPCs for Orpington and asked me for my personal advice on how they would be the best candidates for the Orpington Constituency. My view? For hells sake.

“Why are the Candidates Department so keen on these foreign names?!!!!

“The candidates department are simply rushing these names through.

“They have absolutely no idea about how Associations are organised and have ZERO experience of political campaigning.

“Their emails are PATHETIC.”

“Maybe I should change my name to something foreign - how does Petrado Indiano Hobbinso sound to you?!”