A CONSERVATIVE election candidate who appeared to endorse Tommy Robinson on social media has now been suspended by the party pending an investigation.

Andrew Walker, who was standing as a borough election candidate in Darwen South, made the comments on Facebook in 2018 which appeared to show support for far-right EDL founder and convicted criminal Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, better known by his alias ‘Tommy Robinson’, while another jokes that stabbing former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn should “get you knighted.”

His comments were condemned by political opponents when they were brought to light by the Lancashire Telegraph on Wednesday, with the Conservative Party’s North West campaign headquarters having announced his suspension earlier today.

A spokesperson for the Conservative Party said: “Mr Walker’s membership has been suspended by the party pending an investigation.

“Any forms of racism will not be tolerated and have no place in the Conservative party. “

The comments had originally been raised with Conservative central office by a concerned Darwen resident who said that on failing to receive a response then shared screenshots of the posts with Darwen Labour Party chair Matthew Gibson who decided to share them with the Lancashire Telegraph earlier this week.

According to Mr Gibson, the member of the public in question first raised the posts with Conservative central office in 2018.

However, Mr Walker, then a Conservative candidate for Darwen West, was not investigated as he resigned from the party shortly afterwards.

He since rejoined before being selected as candidate for Darwen South.

One of the posts in question is a share of a news article published by online outlet GBrexit.com headlined “Tommy Robinson has done nothing but expose the truth behind radical Islam” which Mr Walker has captioned with the comment “Can’t be easy preaching what we all think.”

The comments have since been condemned by Mr Gibson who descibed them as "disgusting", Hope Not Hate and by Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner.

She said: “The Conservatives must explain whether it was incompetence or malice that led them to not only readmit this person into the party but then to select him as a candidate.”

On Wednesday, Mr Walker’s election agent said neither they nor Mr Walker could comment as the matter was under investigation by the party’s central office.