28 May 2009

BNP candidate withdraws after party officials tamper with election statement.

Don't vote for me, says BNP candidate

A BNP candidate has tried to pull out of next week’s local elections because she “doesn’t want people thinking I’m racist” – and is now asking Worcester people NOT to vote for her.

Corinne Tovey-Jones told your Worcester News she wants to withdraw her candidacy for the far-right British National Party in next Thursday’sWorcestershire County Council elections, but has discovered it is now too late to have her name taken off the ballot papers.

Mrs Tovey-Jones, who is standing in Nunnery division in Worcester, said she had been convinced to stand for the BNP by a neighbour after her husband was made redundant.

But she decided she wanted to pull out of the poll this week after comments from family and friends.

She said: “I don’t want people thinking I’m racist when I’m not. My sister’s married to an Italian – how could I be? My mum and dad are religious – they don’t need the upset.”

Mrs Tovey-Jones, who could not remember who the BNP’s national leader was while speaking to your Worcester News, said things came to a head when we printed her candidate statement on Monday as part of our election coverage.

She said the statement she submitted to the party – extolling her own “Christian values” – had been rewritten by BNP officials to include comments about the “anti-social behaviour” of “an unruly minority”.

She said: “I read nothing I said. I come from a Christian family, with church values. I’ve had a couple of comments off my father. His friends had seen it. A lot of people link them with the National Front – though they’re not.”

The BNP was formed in 1982 after splits in the racist National Front movement. It now claims to have forgone all links.

But Mrs Tovey-Jones, who lives in Dines Green, Worcester, said: “I had other people say to me, ‘you know what they’re about?’ I don’t want the hassle. I haven’t got a racist bone in my body.”

Asked how she got involved with the extremist party – of which she is a member – she said: “My neighbour is very involved in it, and my husband was made redundant after 10 years and they say things like you can’t get a job at the moment, they’re just taking Polish people.”

Worcester City Council solicitor Doreen Porter – who is helping organise the election – said that with ballot papers printed and postal votes already being returned, candidates cannot now formally pull out.

She said: “There’s no procedure for withdrawing once the statement of candidates is published.”

A spokesperson for the BNP said: “We will speak to Corinne to find out what her position is before we give any statement.”

Berrow's Worcester Journal

COMMENT: Shabby way for BNP to treat voters

This newspaper prides itself on its political independence. We do our best to report the political scene in and around Worcester in a balanced way.

We offer our opinion on political issues based not on party prejudice like the national media but on what we believe to be best for our readers.

Today, however, we question whether the way in which one particular party chooses its candidates for next week’s county council elections is in the best interests of the electorate.

Voters in Worcester’s Nunnery ward, as we reveal today, face the farcical situation of being able to vote next Thursday for a candidate who does not want any votes.

Corinne Tovey-Jones was standing for the extremist British National Party. Now she is not because she fears people will think she is a racist.

Imagine that. People thinking a BNP candidate might be a racist. Whatever next?

Mrs Tovey-Jones’ candidate statement was printed in this newspaper on Monday along with her rivals for the Nunnery seat at County Hall. But she says it was not her statement, which talked about her “Christian values”, and had been changed completely by BNP officials.

Now she wants nothing to do with the election, particularly after negative comments from family and friends. It is too late, though, to delete her name from the ballot paper.

What a shabby way for the BNP to treat the voters of Nunnery ward – putting up a candidate who clearly has little or no idea about the policies of the party she was representing and who does not even know the name of its leader.

At least people in the ward do not have to worry about wasting their vote now.

Berrow's Worcester Journal

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