Election 2015 Wales

Election 2015: UKIP backs candidate with criminal record

Peter Bush on the ITV Local Hero Awards Image copyright ITV Wales
Image caption Peter Bush was a finalist in the ITV Local Hero awards for Wales

UKIP has said it "backs entirely" one of its general election candidates, despite him having a criminal record.

Peter Bush, its candidate for Aberavon, has convictions for theft and arson, which are now spent.

UKIP said Mr Bush had "paid his debt to society" and "changed his life and the lives of many around him".

The party told BBC Wales it was aware of Mr Bush's convictions when he was selected.

'Ancient history'

In a statement, Nathan Gill, UKIP's leader in Wales said: "Peter, as a young man, made mistakes, which resulted in prison.

"But since that time he has changed his life and the lives of many around him.

"So much so that he has won a series of awards for his charity work, up to being nominated for and a finalist in the ITV Local Hero awards for Wales.

"We are proud to be a party that takes people for what they are, not for mistakes of the past.

"A party though tough on crime, is able to recognise that people can always turn a new leaf.

"We, unlike the other parties in Wales look at the individual, not just on their ancient history.

"In Peter we see a man that has, through his own hard work, not merely paid his debt to society but paid that debt many times over through his work. Would that other parties had people with similar drive to improve the lives of their neighbours".

A full list of candidates for Aberavon can be seen here.