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Wickham Market: UKIP turns back on poll candidate over ‘BNP link’

PUBLISHED: 12:20 29 April 2013 | UPDATED: 13:41 29 April 2013

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A UKIP candidate in Thursday’s county council elections in Suffolk has been disowned by the party after it discovered he had once been a member of the BNP.

But Alan Ryall will still be on the ballot paper in the Wickham division because the discovery came after the closing date for withdrawals.

Weekend reports looking into UKIP candidates across the country said Mr Ryall had been a member of the BNP for “one or two” years but he said he now felt that party was “too extreme”.

He did not want to discuss his candidacy when our reported visited his home near Wickham Market – although he said he understood it was too late for him to withdraw from the election.

Asked about allegations that he had been a member of the BNP in the past he said he did not want to say any more and went into his home.

UKIP spokesman Stuart Gulleford said the party had a very strict policy on not allowing current or former members of the BNP to become members. “He will not be standing as a UKIP candidate and his membership will be terminated,” he said.

However, he accepted Mr Ryall will be described as the UKIP candidate on the ballot papers because they have already been printed – and many have already been sent out to postal voters.

Mr Gulleford claimed: “Everyone who joins UKIP has to sign a declaration that they are not and never have been a member of the BNP.”

UKIP was stronger on this issue than other parties, he said, and asked: “Do they know that none of their members have ever been a member of the BNP?”

However, Mr Ryall told a national newspaper he had not been asked by UKIP about his lapsed BNP membership.

Mr Gulleford said he would not be giving any advice to voters in the Wickham Division about how they should vote on Thursday following his party’s withdrawal of support for Mr Ryall. “That is a matter for voters’ conscience,” he said.

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