The election in Fremantle in chaos after the Liberal candidate resigns

Former Liberal candidate for Fremantle Sherry Sufi.

Sherry Sufi, the Liberal candidate for the Western Australian seat of Fremantle, has resigned following past comments about Aboriginal recognition and marriage equality.

His resignation comes a week after Labor dumped its candidate, Chris Brown, a maritime union official and former wharfie, for failing to disclose criminal convictions in the 1980s. Brown was replaced last Thursday by Josh Wilson, chief of staff to outgoing MP Melissa Parke.

Sufi, who chairs the WA Liberal policy committee, was snubbed by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull during a visit to Fremantle earlier this week for a campaign event. The PM appeared to distance himself from Sufi during the visit, saying he hoping the candidate was out door-knocking.

Sufi has been under pressure for several weeks for comments three years ago that suggested marriage equality would lead to polygamy and multiple partners. Earlier this year in an interview with Buzzfeed he said Aboriginal recognition in the Consitution would “divide the country”.

Today Sufi, said he was resigning “to avoid further distraction from the good work being done by the Prime Minister and his Liberal team”.

“I apologise if my words and actions have caused offence to anyone. This was never my intent,” he said.

Sufi is also stepping down as chair of the WA Liberal policy committee.

Fremantle is one of just three seats the ALP holds in WA, but the safest for Labor, with an estimated margin of 5.9% following a redistribution. However, the sitting MPs from all three seats are retiring at this election.

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