The Conservative councillor who was suspended from his party after he called for the stoning of a Muslim journalist on Twitter has had all charges against him dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Birmingham City councillor Gareth Compton was arrested last November after joking on the social media site: “Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing, really.”
Despite a swift apology for his ‘ill-conceived attempt at humour’ the barrister, who lives in Harborne, was arrested by police and immediately suspended from the Conservative Party while investigations took place.
The CPS confirmed it has now dropped the case due to insufficient evidence. His political future is now in the hands of Conservative Party chairwoman Baroness Warsi, who is currently overseeing the party’s inquiry into the matter.
It is thought that he has the backing of influential Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, Birmingham’s only Tory MP, and colleagues are hopeful he will be allowed to resume his membership. Councillor Compton was not available for comment.
Timing is crucial as his term of office as Erdington ward councillor ends in May and Conservative Party colleagues say he is keen to stand for election.
A party colleague said: “We thought the police investigation would not go anywhere and are relieved the CPS has officially dropped the case.
“Most Birmingham Tories would welcome him back. Timing is not yet critical, but if this time next month he is still not back in the fold we will need to find another candidate for Erdington.”
A CPS spokesman said: “Mr Compton posted a message on his Twitter page. A member of the public, who read this message, made a complaint to the police who then instigated an investigation.
“Ms Alibhai-Brown has refused to make any complaint to the police on the matter and the member of the public, who initially reported this matter, has also refused to provide the prosecution with a statement.
“A file was then submitted to the reviewing lawyer who has carefully reviewed all of the evidence, as well as the fact that we have no statement of complaint, and they have decided there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction.”
Coun Compton has kept a very low profile since the scandal and deleted his online Twitter account. Yesterday he was back on the Tory benches at a full council meeting and refused to comment.