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.”