Tory candidate David Bishop stood down after posting offensive tweets about IslamTwitter

A prospective Conservative councillor has quit the party after posting tweets calling Islam the "religion of rape."

David Bishop, a radio DJ from Essex, also made homophobic comments and said "it's good to be anti-Islam" on his Twitter page.

Bishop, who was due to stand for the Conservatives in the Brentwood South ward in the upcoming council elections, posted links to videos by controversial comedian Pat Condell, asked why the BBC had broadcast a lesbian kiss before the watershed and asked how a "gay guy could keep a straight face."

When first approached by local paper The Brentwood Gazette about the tweets, Bishop, a presenter on Zero Radio, claimed he posted them to make them look stupid, and refused to accept a "pardon" from Rajack Soobratty, a representative of Brentwood's Muslim community.

As it is too late to remove his name from ballot papers, Bishop has urged the electorate not to vote for him on 22 May.

In a statement published on the Brentwood and Ongar Conservative Association (BOCA) website Bishop said:

"I unreservedly apologise for publishing inappropriate tweets and re-tweets and I am sorry for the real offence caused. I recognise that someone standing for public office should show leadership and seek to unite communities, not divide them. I hope the residents of Brentwood South can forgive my lack of judgement in time.

"I have let myself and my Party down and in order to avoid any further embarrassment, I have taken the decision to resign from the Conservative Party with immediate effect. I will not be asking anyone to vote for me on 22nd May. I wish the Conservative Party all the best for the future."

Brentwood Conservative group leader Louise McKinlay added:

"The views expressed on Twitter recently do not reflect the opinions or beliefs held by the Conservative group on Brentwood Council nor those of the Conservative Party and as such have no place in our team. David's decision to step down was the right thing to do and I am pleased the Party has backed this and accepted his resignation from the team and from the Party."

Bishop's resignation comes in the wake of Ukip's decision to suspend council candidate Harry Perry in Stockport for posting a series of anti-Islamic and homophobic tweets.