Foto: Fredrik Persson/Scanpix.
Ripples of the "iron-bar" scandal

Sweden Democrat Almqvist leaves parliament, becomes Party's media consultant

The Sweden Democrat's former financial spokesperson Erik Almqvist has left parliament and has even given up his membership of the party following the "ironbar" scandal in which he was captured on film shouting racist abuse in 2010 and which ended up being published by newspaper Expressen last month.

Almqvist made his announcement on twitter this afternoon and subsequently revealed that he will be used by the party as a media consultant on a new project.

Almqvist later issued a statement in which he said his decsion to leave parliament and membership of the party was "an unbelievably difficult and heavy decision for me".

Earlier he used twitter to break the story of his departure and gave a hint of his new role. "That I now leave parliament does not mean that you will be rid of me if that's what you think", Almqvist tweeted, ending with a smiley face icon.

It was later revealed by Sweden Democrat party secretary Björn Söder that Almqvist will work as a freelance media consultant to the Sweden Democrat Party and its new media company "Present and Future" which is wholly owned by the party and by the autumn of 2013 will have its own internet newspaper and internet TV, cooperating with Almqvist's own media company.

Söder also elaborated on the decision behind Almqvist's departure.

"After a great deal of discussion, we have jointly landed in a position that benefits neither Erik or the party if he continues in parliament. He has just realised as well as us that it will be difficult for him to focus on politics after what has happened. I think that it is a responsible decision that Erik has made," Björn Söder, the Sweden Democrat's party secretary told news agency TT.

30-year-old Almqvist stood down from his position as economic spokesperson on 14 November and was asked by his party leader Jimmie Åkesson to consider his position in parliament, following the film scandal.

Almqvist has spent the time since then thinking over his position.

Former justice spokesperson Kent Ekeroth, who was also involved in the scandal and also took time out, has said that he is thinking of remaining in parliament and continuing to work for the party.

Almqvist's place in parliament goes to Anna Hagwall from Rättvik. 

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