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Tory Deputy Chairman Jonathan Gullis Accused of ‘Lying’ Over Party’s Association With Convicted Drug Boss

Labour said Byline Times’ findings suggested claims Hussain was not linked to the Tory Party were a “lie”

Jonathan Gullis (far right) celebrates with Yassar Hussain (top left) and Conservative former leader of Stoke Council, Abi Brown (bottom left), at the 2021 Moorcroft by-election, which was later investigated by police following allegations of voter fraud. (Source: Stoke Sentinel)

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Conservative deputy chairman Jonathan Gullis has been accused of lying about his party’s relationship with a convicted drugs boss.

After photos this week emerged of Mr Gullis socialising with Yasser Hussain, once jailed for being the ringleader of a heroin gang, Labour accused the politician of hypocrisy and betraying victims of drugs crimes.

A spokesman for Gullis – who has previously described drug dealers as “savages” – told LBC on Wednesday that Mr Hussain was merely a member of the public that the member for Stoke-on-Trent North had met at “events with the local Muslim community”, while Tory insiders stressed Hussain wasn’t a member of the party.

But a Byline Times investigation has since uncovered a number of further photographs featuring Hussain – a former trainee solicitor jailed for eight years in 2006 after being caught with 4 kilos of heroin with an estimated street value of £400,000 – taken at Conservative Party events between 2018 and 2023 which suggest the convicted drug dealer is in fact a long-standing and prominent Tory activist. 

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Last night Labour said our findings suggested Gullis’s claims Hussain was not linked to the Tory Party were a “lie” – and questioned whether the former gangland boss had ever received access to private data, which could risk public safety.

A Labour source said: “Jonathan Gullis’s claims that Mr Hussain is not an activist seem to be unravelling already. 

“Gullis’s suggestion that Hussain is simply a member of the local community are a lie.”

In the images, Hussain can be seen posing with several leading Conservative Party figures in Stoke-on-Trent, including Gullis –  a former teacher who was made one of the deputy chairmen of the Tory Party after Lee Anderson defected to Reform earlier this year – and Jack Brereton, MP for neighbouring Stoke-on-Trent South.

In one photo Hussain was pictured alongside Gullis – who is anticipated to lose the 6,286-majority seat he won unexpectedly in 2019 as part of the Tory ‘Red Wall’ – at the 2021 Moorcroft by-election, which was later investigated by police following allegations of voter fraud.

Byline Times can reveal Hussain was invited as a guest of the Conservative Party, as well as to the 2019 General election count, where he was photographed smiling in a blue rosette with his arm around a victorious Brereton.

Hussain puts his arm around a victorious Brereton at the 2019 General Election count. (Source: Stoke Conservatives Facebook page)

In another photo, he can be seen as part of a large group of Tory activists behind Gullis and Brereton with his arms held aloft. 

Hussain celebrates with Gulllis, Brereton and Gideon (centre), and several other notable Stoke Conservatives, at the 2019 General Election count. (Source: Stoke Conservatives Facebook page) 

In a shot from 2021, Hussain appears to be canvassing for Brereton along with Conservative former leader of Stoke Council, Abi Brown, current Conservative Group Leader Daniel Jellyman, and Ben Adams, the Conservative Party’s Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire. 

Next to Hussain, a man is holding dozens of campaign leaflets for Brereton, who at 26 was the youngest Conservative MP in the 2017 intake, and retained his seat in 2019 with a 11,271 majority.

In what appears to be a promotional photo opportunity, Hussain is seen attending a local food bank with Brererton, 33, Ms Brown, and Mr Jellyman.         

Hussain was also invited by the Conservative Party to the 2023 Stoke-on-Trent Council Elections count, where he mixed with local constituency officials. 

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A Labour source said: “Mr Hussain clearly attended both the Moorcroft by-election count and the 2023 Stoke-on-Trent Council Elections count – both of which were attended by Jonathan Gullis and Jack Brereton. 

“So now Gullis’s version of events has proven to be untrue, the Conservatives now need to answer the real questions, starting with what is Mr Hussain’s role in the Conservative election campaign? 

“Is he a volunteer or a paid Conservative activist? Does he have access to the electoral register? Does he have access to sensitive data?

“Was he Mr Gullis’s guest at the election counts or was he there in an official capacity representing the Conservative Party?”

Byline Times put all these questions to Gullis, Brereton, and Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ), on the evening of 9pm on 29 May. 

None of the three parties, who were also asked whether it had been a “lie” to deny Hussain was a Conservative Party member, responded to our inquiries by the time of publication. 

Should any of them do so, we will update the article

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