THE Mayor of Salisbury has stepped back from his duties after he was suspended by his party for making alleged antisemitic comments.

Councillor Atiqul Hoque, who denies any wrongdoing, will not be attending civic events or chairing Salisbury City Council meetings for the "foreseeable future".

He was due to open Hobbycraft on March 2 and had five other upcoming events that he will no longer attend.

Deputy Mayor Sven Hocking will attend upcoming events and chair meetings in place of Cllr Hoque.

This comes after Cllr Hoque was expelled from the Conservative party over allegations of antisemitism.

Recap: What happened to Atiqul Hoque?

Leaked screenshots of a WhatsApp group chat showed messages in which Cllr Hoque accused supporters of Israel as being under the influence of "paymasters" and that Jews "planted the crucifixion" of Jesus Christ.

Cllr Hoque also posted a public status on Facebook in which he claimed that Israel is using the October 7 incident to expand its territory within Gaza. 

Cllr Hoque has denied any wrongdoing and said he will appeal his expulsion from the Tory Party. 

Salisbury Journal: Cllr Atiqul Hoque has stepped back from mayoral duties.

Previously, Cllr Hoque told the Journal he would be happy to share all the communication as he has "nothing to hide".

He added: "I will be fighting to clear my name as I am entirely innocent of these allegations.

"My track record speaks for itself; over many years I have worked for all the people of Salisbury, regardless of their religion or ethnic background.

"I am proud of having Jewish friends and supporters, and those I have heard from have sent me messages of support." 

Salisbury Journal:

Following a meeting with Salisbury City Council's leadership team, Cllr Hoque agreed to step back from duties while he appeals the Conservative party's decision to expel him.

In an email seen by the Journal, a member of the council confirmed this and told councillors no press releases were planned.

Cllr Hoque also told the Journal: "As someone who has experienced occasional racism and discrimination myself, I believe there is no place for either at all.

"In due course I will be happy to share all the communication with everyone was involved as I have nothing to hide."