A top Lincoln Tory has branded the words of BNP leader Nick Griffin as "despicable" after he commented on a fire at a church in the city which was about to converted into a mosque.
The leader of the far-right party sent a statement to the Echo in the wake of a blaze at St Matthew's Church. Griffin, who lives in Wales, pointed the finger of blame at four groups and also included racist remarks. He said: "Perhaps a local householder was driven mad by the thought of being engulfed by a miniature version of Lahore."
He also added that "druggie vermin that infest the dark corners of once proud Lincoln" or bored children may have torched the building.
Karl McCartney, prospective Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Lincoln, said: "His statement comes as no surprise to me. He will use anything for his own ends. It's sad when something as devastating as this is used for political capital and what he has said is despicable."
Later in the comments Griffin suggests that someone may have been "doing the new owners a favour of clearing the site". Lincoln City Council has called the remarks "idle speculation" and urged anyone with relevant information to report it to Lincolnshire Police or Crimestoppers.
The authority's leader Councillor Darren Grice said: "I am angry that someone who has no affinity with Lincoln can question the sense of pride our residents feel about their city."