UKIP Bristol chairman quits 'after immigration comment'

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The chairman of Bristol UKIP has quit and will not be standing for the party in May's local elections following comments on illegal immigrants.

Phil Collins suggested in an interview holding centres should be set up "in every city" to detain people who had entered Britain illegally.

He insisted the comments were personal views and not those of the party.

UKIP said there was "no place" for someone representing the party holding views like those reported.

Mr Collins said he had stood down as chairman for personal reasons - but added he could not remember if he made the comments before or after he resigned.

He said neither he or the UKIP were racist.

'Cash jobs'

"I've got friends of all nationalities and anyone that knows me knows I am not racist in the slightest.

"If they are illegal and shouldn't be in this county I don't believe they should be put in prison," Mr Collins told the BBC.

"I believe we should build holding centres to hold them because what happens is... the police just caution them and let them go... and they go and burgle another part of the county.

"They go on and use our services and take cash jobs which British people could do and I don't think this is fair on the general public."

'Range of issues'

In a statement Steve Wood, the new UKIP Bristol branch chairman, confirmed Mr Collins no longer held the post.

"Following the comments reported in the press about immigration [Mr Collins] will not be standing in the forthcoming council election.

"UKIP will be fighting on a whole range of local issues in May, but there is no place for someone representing the party holding views like those reported," Mr Wood said.

In 2010 Mr Collins received 1,510 votes for the parliamentary seat of Bristol East which was won by Labour's Kerry McCarthy.

Mr Collins' original comments were reported in an interview with online magazine Vice.

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