Thursday, December 23

`BNP links' man quits UKIP post

A WOODBRIDGE man has quit as Parliamentary candidate for the UK Independence Party in Suffolk Coastal after confirming he had been "briefly attached" to the UK Independence Party.

Nicholas Betts-Green, who has also resigned as UKIP's branch chairman, was questioned by the party's leadership in the East of England following reports last month in the East Anglian Daily Times that he had found the BNP "appealing" because of its hostile attitude to the European Union.

UKIP's regional organiser Charlie Cole visited Mr Betts-Green who, after considering his position, decided to stand down.

His resignation was confirmed by UKIP Euro MP Tom Wise, who said Suffolk Coastal UKIP members would hold an emergency meeting on December 29 to discuss replacing Mr Betts-Green and would then issue a statement to the media.

Mr Betts-Green, who could not be contacted yesterday, was cleared originally to stand by the party's national leadership in September, even though he had admitted his BNP connection to the then acting Chief Executive Piers Marchant when interviewed for the candidate's list.

A former teacher at Cheltenham Ladies College and Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge, Mr Betts-Green was educated at Woodbridge School, as was Nick Griffin, the BNP leader last week released on bail after being arrested by police investigating the extent of racism in the organisation.

When questioned by the EADT last month, Mr Betts-Green confirmed his links to British National Party. "Unwisely I agreed to attend a talk he (Griffin) gave in Ipswich.

"Knowing of my dislike for all things about the EU, he played up the BNP's anti-EU stance.

"It was this which persuaded me, very briefly, to attached myself to the BNP. I regretted it at once because the people I met were somewhat rabid in their views."

A former member of the Conservative Party, Mr Betts-Green remains a member of the Conservative Monday Club which was expelled from association with the Tories in October 2001 because of its views were said not to be compatible with mainstream conservatism.

Suffolk Coastal's Tory MP John Gummer said yesterday he did not wish to comment "on UKIP's internal affairs."

Source: East Anglian Daily Times, 20 December 2004
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