Top Tory David Dean ‘said Sadiq Khan would treat white people like dirt’
A senior London Conservative has been suspended from the party for allegedly claiming Sadiq Khan would treat white people “like dirt” as Mayor, the Standard can reveal.
In a statement the party confirmed that David Dean, a Merton councillor who stood as the area’s official Tory candidate in the London Assembly elections this month, is facing an investigation.
It follows a complaint from a Putney resident that Mr Dean told him that if Mr Khan was elected, “as a white man ... you will be a pariah in your own town. He will treat you like dirt”.
Another resident made a recording of the conversation, which took place a week before the election when Mr Dean came canvassing for support for himself and for Zac Goldsmith’s mayoral bid.
A Conservative spokesman said: “As soon as we became aware of his comments he was immediately suspended from the party, pending an investigation.”
The spokesman gave no further details of the investigation, its time-scale, or who would be conducting it, and declined to say what the “comments” that are being investigated were.
But it is understood to concern a complaint emailed on May 3, two days before the elections, to Mr Goldsmith’s Back Zac team.
The email, which has been seen by the Standard, alleged: “I recently had David Dean on my doorstep to canvass for support in the upcoming election.
"I mentioned that I was a previous Conservative supporter and in fact had held office within the party many years ago but was concerned with the way the party had moved forward and for the first time may not vote for the party.”
The complainant said he was surprised by Mr Dean’s unsympathetic reaction and went on: “More worryingly was his comment regarding Sadiq Khan that ‘as a white man... you will be a pariah in your own town. He will treat you like dirt’.
“I would very much like to hear if this racist approach is also the opinion of Zac Goldsmith and if he supports this opinion.
"My neighbours are Muslim and could probably overhear the conversation. Somebody in the house recorded this part of the conversation which you are welcome to listen to.”
Speaking at his £850,000 home in Merton, Mr Dean said he was not racist and that “banter” had been taken out of context. He told the Standard: “I’m not a racist… have you met my wife? She’s from Cyprus.”
The father-of-three, who lost the Tory-held Merton & Wandsworth seat on the London Assembly to Labour, said: “I was in a situation where I was laughing and joking with people and someone else has recorded a snippet of it.
"[The person I was canvassing] had lots of complaints about my political party and I said I wasn’t having any of that. I said x,y,z and we ended up shaking hands whilst he told me to f*** off.
"He was loud and swearing but always with a smile on his face. So it was a bit of banter. Whoever has recorded this clearly doesn’t like the Conservatives. There is a context to this and I need to talk to my party.”
The complainant, who asked not to be identified, strongly denied the claim that the conversation was banter and also that he smiled or swore.
He said: “It was not remotely banter or light-hearted. I was looking for serious replies to my concerns as a voter. It was a coincidence a portion of the conversation happened to be recorded.
"I find it repulsive that anyone could think that the colour of my skin or the colour of the candidate’s skin should have any bearing on how I cast my vote.”
Mr Dean is a marketing expert who worked for the Walt Disney organisation and on soft drink Tango, and says the slogan You Know When You’ve been Tango’ed “was created under my tenure.”