By Richard Fleury
In what must be one of the quickest political rehabilitations in history, Swale leader Andrew Bowles has been reinstated by the Conservative party.
Exactly a fortnight ago, Bowles was suspended after retweeting support for the violent anti-Islamic extremist ‘Tommy Robinson’.
Yet to the surprise and astonishment of absolutely no one, the Boughton and Courtenay councillor is back in the Tory fold just in time for the local elections. It’s almost as if it never happened.
“What a total shocker! Who could have predicted his so-called suspension would be a short-lived sham?” said nobody at all.
After initially refusing to apologise for the offensive tweets and even comparing his critics to the Nazis without a hint of irony, Bowles was suspended along with 14 other Conservative members as part of a much-publicised crackdown on Islamophobia within the party nationally.
An apology (of sorts) followed and it was announced that Councillor Bowles would undergo social media training to learn how not to sound like a dog-whistling cheerleader for cocaine-addled racist criminal goons. At least not online.
Meanwhile, the tweets in question were met with a resounding lack of condemnation from local Conservatives.
Asked to denounce Bowles’s behaviour by constituents, Faversham MP Helen Whately, Kent Conservative leader Paul Carter and all Bowles’ Tory colleagues on Swale Borough Council and Faversham Town Council all maintained an awkward and deeply troubling silence.