A UK Independence Party councillor in the party’s Clacton stronghold has been forced to resign – after it emerged he was on a list of members of the BNP.
Laurie Gray was one of 22 UKIP councillors elected in May this year to sit on Tendring District Council in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.
Clacton is an area dominated by UKIP, electing the party’s only current Member of Parliament, Douglas Carswell.
Mr Gray was forced to stand down earlier this week – after it emerged his name was on a leaked list of members of the far-right British National Party, from 2008.
However, he says he is unsure why his details were on the membership list, and denies he was an active member of the far-right party.
He claimed to the Clacton Gazette: “As far as I know, I wasn’t a member of the BNP.
“I remember a few years ago filling out a questionnaire. I got an email, but I didn’t go to any meetings or anything. I’m 62 and the first time I voted was last year for Douglas Carswell.
He added: “I deny knowing I was a member of the BNP. The first I knew about it was a phone call saying I was on a list.
“It must have been one of those mindless mistakes you make when messing about on the computer.
“I resigned from UKIP ten minutes after seeing the report. I did that because I respect UKIP too much to bring it into disrepute.”
The council’s UKIP group leader Mark Stephenson told the newspaper: “I was shocked to find out last week of Laurie’s history with the BNP. UKIP has a zero tolerance of people who have joined this organisation.
“Laurie has given his resignation from the party and in doing so from the UKIP group on the council.”
Mr Gray will continue to sit as an independent.
A recruitment video released by the BNP last year claims that “militant homosexuals” are part of an “unholy alliance” taking charge of the country in order to destroy families.
Former BNP leader Nick Griffin, who was expelled from the far-right party following an internal coup, previously revealed that he now votes for UKIP.