Election 2015 Wales

Election 2015: 'Baptism of fire' for Plaid candidate

Mike Parker
Image caption Mike Parker says he has no regrets about the 'strong terms' he used

A Plaid Cymru candidate at the centre of a Nazi slur row has admitted he has had a "baptism of fire" over it.

Mike Parker wrote in 2001 that parts of Wales were inhabited by "gun-toting Final Solution crackpots".

He said he would not use such phrases now, as he was "hopefully wiser" but there was nothing to apologise for.

At a Ceredigion hustings in Borth on Wednesday, Mr Parker said the row had been a "fair old day" for him before explaining his comments from 2001.

Speaking to BBC Wales earlier, Mr Parker said: "The message was about racism. Racism is the absolute scourge of our times.

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

"It's a terrible thing that divides us one from another, and it's got worse since I wrote that article, it's got worse.

"I don't regret it. I wouldn't use those phrases now, not because I'm standing for parliament but because I'm 15 years older, greyer and hopefully wiser.

"I was fired-up and passionate, against racism, for the wonderful, compassionate, tolerant community I had moved into in mid Wales.

"The two things seemed so out of kilter, I wanted to try and express it and yes I expressed it in quite strong terms but I have no regrets about that."

Asked if he felt the need to apologise, he said: "There is nothing to apologise for."

'Florid' language

Former Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd said calls for Mr Parker to step down as a candidate were "pure nonsense".

"We are dealing with comments made 15 years ago and the person who has written them has said the language was florid and he wouldn't choose the same words today," he told BBC Radio Cymru on Thursday.

Mr Llwyd said Mr Parker was referring to a "very, very small proportion of people who moved to Wales with racist opinions".

The piece had been written at a time when the BNP was growing and was holding rallies in mid Wales, he added.

On Wednesday, Ceredigion's Labour candidate Huw Thomas condemned "such divisive and hateful language" while Conservative contender Henrietta Hensher accused Mr Parker of a "dangerous generalisation".

Welsh Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black said Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood should demand a "full public apology" from Mr Parker, while the UKIP Ceredigion candidate Gethin James said someone from his party would have had to consider their position as a candidate if they had written in such a "derogatory manner".

The other candidates declared to be standing in Ceredigion are Jack Huggins (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition), Daniel Thompson (Green Party), and Mark Williams (Liberal Democrats).

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