THE Conservative election campaign in Stourbridge has suffered a blow following the resignation of their association's deputy chairman over alleged Islamophobia.

Kyle Pedley quit after claiming a prospective candidate for a nomination to stand in council elections was subjected to an inappropriate line of questioning about his religion at a selection meeting.

Mr Pedley told the BBC: "He was faced with a barrage of questioning which was active around one thing and one thing only, and that was his religion and his race.

"It was 'are you really a Muslim? do you pray five times a day? how many times do you go to the mosque? how many Muslims do you think there are in the ward?' and I just sat there aghast."

Mr Pedley went on to describe discussion between the officers at the meeting and added "even if it is purely ignorance that doesn't, to me, make it any more acceptable."

He says he has made complaints to Conservative Central Office and the party chairman's office.

The Conservative Party says they will never stand by when it comes to prejudice and added: "Serious allegations such as these are always investigated thoroughly which is testament to the seriousness with which we take such issues." The chairman of Stourbridge Conservative Association, Roger Spencer, has told the BBC he is mystified by Mr Pedley's resignation and cannot recall the meeting as described.

However Mr Pedley's allegations have found common ground with at least on big name.

Baroness Sayeeda Wasi, a Conservative peer and former party chairman, said: "I'm shocked at the kind of questions that have been asked but I'm not surprised. This is a reflection of the kind of thing I have been hearing about over the last four years at associations all over the country."

Mr Pedley told the Stourbridge News: “In giving up my position, my council candidacy and some friendships, it was deeply sad but also quite a strong relief to walk away from the horrible situations and attitudes I kept finding myself exposed to, which completely took my heart out of the party and politics as a whole.

“I’ve said what I felt needed to be said. I’m hugely grateful to Baroness Warsi and others in the party whom I have been in direct contact with over the past couple of days, who have offered their support to me over this decision.

“I’m moving on; the focus is on the party now - not me - to deal (or not deal!) with this at both a local and National level.”

Councillor Nic Barlow, secretary of Stourbridge Conservative Association, who was not present at the meeting which prompted the allegations, said: "I can't imagine what was said, was said in the way it has been alleged.

"We have a number of Muslims in our association and I'm sure if they were uncomfortable with words being said they would voice their concerns.

"The matter is now in the hands of Conservative Central Office, if the allegations are confirmed the party will deal with those concerned and the association will accept that.

"Mr Pedley made no representation to us with his concerns, it's very