UKIP Plymstock poppy wreath logo sparks political row

UKIP wreath, Plymstock memorial, November 2013
Image caption Plymouth's Conservative group leader said he was appalled by the "overtly political" UKIP logo, while the Labour leader said it was in bad taste

UKIP has denied a wreath it laid to mark Armistice Day was a political statement after receiving criticism from other political parties.

The wreath - with a UKIP logo in the centre - was laid at the war memorial on Burrow Hill, Plymstock and one of four laid by the party in Plymouth.

The city council's Conservative and Labour leaders said using a political logo on Remembrance Day was wrong.

But UKIP insisted the wreaths were symbols of honour and respect.

'Point scoring'

David Salmon, UKIP party chairman for Plymouth and South West Devon, said it was hypocritical of the Conservatives and Labour to accuse UKIP of "dirty tricks".

"I'm boiling and furious that they're trying to score points over something as important as Remembrance Day," he told BBC News.

"These are the same wreaths we laid last year and nothing was said then - but there were no elections last year - so I think their 'outrage' is more a ploy to besmirch UKIP."

A personalised card on the wreath said: "We come not to mourn our dead, but to praise them".

Tudor Evans, leader of the Labour-controlled city council, said the logo on the wreath should be removed.

Image caption Wreaths and remembrance crosses were laid around the Plymstock war memorial by various groups and individuals

"It is very bad taste - we have always made Remembrance Day an apolitical event," he said.

"Propaganda in this way is not at all the right thing in a military city which has seen a lot of war deaths."

The council's Conservative group leader, councillor Ian Bowyer, said he was appalled by the size of the UKIP logo which he described as "overtly political".

"A discreet card on the wreath saying who it's from is one thing, but to have the UKIP logo festooned on it is disrespectful."

'Retain the logo'

Mr Salmon said the wreaths were ordered through the Royal British Legion.

"The logo may be a bit over the top, so next year I'll consider a smaller one," he said.

"But I want to retain the logo because I'm proud of what we stand for."

The Royal British Legion's poppy factory in Richmond said wreaths were produced every year with logos for "all the mainstream political parties".

A statement from the national UKIP party said: "This was far from a malicious act and the local branch just thought it was the nicest way to collectively remember those who have served our country."

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