Mansfield UKIP candidate denies BNP membership link

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A candidate hoping to win a seat on Mansfield District Council in the upcoming elections has denied he has ever been a member of the political group, the BNP.

Sidney James Walker, who is standing as a UKIP candidate in the Newlands area of the district, was listed as being a member of the controversial party that was leaked to the public several years ago.

Mr Walker, who lives on Braemar Road in Forest Town, says he has never been a member of the party, but could not remember if he had sent money to support the group in the past.

He told Chad: “I may have sent a donation, but I have never been a member of the BNP.

“Surely you would have to pay a membership fee to be a member, and I’ve not done that.

“I do not believe in the far-right groups, that is not going to solve anything.”

The list, which contained more than 11,000 names, had been leaked to the public in 2009, possibly by a disgruntled former member.

It contained names, addresses and in some cases, occupations. Chad recently received details from an anonymous tip-off that Mr Walker’s name and address was on the list, which was confirmed this week.

Mr Walker said that he did not know his name was even on the list or knew why it was there. He is only one of two candidates contesting the Newlands ward seat.

It is not the first time Mr Walker has stood in the council elections for UKIP, after he lost out to a Labour candidate in a by-election in December last year for the vacant Netherfield seat.

Meanwhile, Chad has contacted UKIP which says it is looking into the allegation.

The party has been eager to distance themselves from the far-right by banning all members who have been affiliated to far-right political groups, including the BNP and the English Defence League (EDL).

UKIP has pointed out that it is the only political party to have imposed such a ban.

Sidney Pepper, UKIP’s candidate for Mansfield in the Parliamentary elections, spoke of Mr Walker saying: “He has been a member (of UKIP) for a while and comes to branch meetings regularly.

“I find it very strange that he stood before and nobody has questioned this.”

The council has since said that candidates are free to put themselves forward providing they have not been banned from doing so under strict legislation.

Ruth Marlow, managing director and returning officer, said: “Each candidate must sign a document to say they are not disqualified from standing under the disqualifications set out in the Representation of the People Act 1983.”