Election 2015 Wales

Election 2015: Plaid Cymru candidate in Nazi slur row

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Media captionMike Parker is fighting a key Plaid Cymru target seat, says BBC Wales political editor Nick Servini

Plaid Cymru has been urged to remove its general election candidate for Ceredigion over claims that he once compared some English-born residents of rural Wales to Nazis.

Mike Parker said he was "younger and angrier" when he wrote in 2001 that parts of Wales were inhabited by "gun-toting Final Solution crackpots".

Plaid said he now recognised the language he used was "inappropriate".

Labour said Mr Parker was "not fit" to represent Ceredigion.

Following press reports about the article written for Planet magazine, Mr Parker defended his actions in a statement on Facebook.

He said he had been writing about a minority of people he had met who said they had moved to rural Wales from England to "escape multicultural communities in more urban areas".

Image copyright Planet magazine
Image caption Mike Parker had written that some people left England for rural Wales because they were racist

"My anger at these racist attitudes fuelled some high-octane language that I wouldn't use to express myself now - however, I maintain the view that racism should never be ignored nor accepted, and should always be challenged and tackled," he said.

A Plaid Cymru spokesman said: "He was reacting to some very negative and belittling comments he heard at that time as someone who had moved to Ceredigion from Kidderminster himself.

"Plaid Cymru has always worked against those divisive forces and we're very proud of our record in doing so."

Apology call

Labour's candidate for Ceredigion, Huw Thomas, called on Plaid Cymru to replace Mr Parker, saying: "There should be no place in our politics or our society for such divisive and hateful language."

The area's Conservative candidate, Henrietta Hensher, said: "What he's actually done is tarnish a section of the population within Wales as a whole, suggesting that they are racist."

Welsh Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black called on Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood to "show some leadership" and demand a "full public apology" from Mr Parker.

"Either he withdraws these remarks or else she needs to explain whether he is representing Plaid Cymru policy," said Mr Black.

"His offensive views shouldn't just be swept under the carpet."

Meanwhile, UKIP's candidate for Ceredigion, Gethin James, said: "If a UKIP candidate had written an article in such a derogatory manner, even though it was some time ago, they would be asked to consider their position as a parliamentary candidate."

The candidates so far declared to be standing in Ceredigion are: Henrietta Hensher (Conservative), Jack Huggins (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition), Gethin James (UKIP), Mike Parker (Plaid Cymru), Huw Thomas (Labour), Daniel Thompson (Green Party), and Mark Williams (Liberal Democrats).

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