UKIP candidate receives apology over immigration comments

Phil Collins, former Bristol UKIP Chairman Phil Collins has confirmed he will be standing in the city council elections in May

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A UKIP candidate who was barred from standing in local elections after a row over comments he made about immigrants has received an apology from his party.

Phil Collins was barred from standing in this year's local elections in Bristol but has confirmed that he will now represent UKIP.

Mr Collins had said illegal immigrants should be detained in closed down prisons such as HMP Shepton Mallet.

UKIP has accepted these were Mr Collins' views and not those of UKIP.

'Very complex'

UKIP party chairman Steve Crowther apologised to Mr Collins.

Mr Crowther said: "Phil has been a loyal and hard-working servant of the party in Bristol. He made it clear that he was speaking in a personal capacity.

"We are fully committed to free speech and divergent opinions within our party. Phil was trying to make sense of a very complex situation to which there are no easy answers, but which concerns very many people in this country."

Mr Collins, the former chairman of Bristol UKIP, added that his comments about locking up illegal immigrants was referring to current UK policy which stated people should be detained in prison, but this did not happen due to prison overcrowding.

He believed the government should use closed down prisons, such as HMP Shepton Mallet, to lock up illegal immigrants.

Mr Collins added that it would be preferable than allowing the UK Border Force Agency to find illegal immigrants and ask them to report back to them every week as they would invariably "wander off and be a burden on British society".

Bristol UKIP chairman Steve Wood said: "Having spoken to him and look[ing] at his original statements, we are satisfied that he made it clear that he was speaking for himself, not for the party.

"What he said, while not party policy, was not of a nature which would warrant his being prevented from standing. In relation to the management of illegal immigration, he was in fact suggesting the extension of a system which is current government policy."

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