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Election 2015: No apology from candidate in Nazi slur row

media captionMike Parker had written that some people left England for rural Wales because they were racist

A Plaid Cymru election candidate has said he has no regrets over an old magazine article, following claims he compared some English-born residents of rural Wales to Nazis.

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.

Opponents have urged Plaid to replace Mr Parker as its Ceredigion candidate.

Following press reports about the article written for Planet magazine, Labour said he was "not fit" to represent Ceredigion.

media captionMike Parker is fighting a key Plaid Cymru target seat, says BBC Wales political editor Nick Servini

Mr Parker told BBC Wales: "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."

image copyrightPlanet magazine
image captionMike Parker had written that some people left England for rural Wales because they were racist

Earlier, Mr Parker defended his actions in a statement on Facebook.

He said he had been writing about a minority of people he had met who said they had moved to rural Wales from England to "escape multicultural communities in more urban areas".

A Plaid Cymru spokesman said: "He was reacting to some very negative and belittling comments he heard at that time as someone who had moved to Ceredigion from Kidderminster himself.

"Plaid Cymru has always worked against those divisive forces and we're very proud of our record in doing so."

Apology call

Labour's candidate for Ceredigion, Huw Thomas, called on Plaid Cymru to replace Mr Parker, saying: "There should be no place in our politics or our society for such divisive and hateful language."

The area's Conservative candidate, Henrietta Hensher, said: "What he's actually done is tarnish a section of the population within Wales as a whole, suggesting that they are racist."

Welsh Liberal Democrat AM Peter Black called on Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood to "show some leadership" and demand a "full public apology" from Mr Parker.

"Either he withdraws these remarks or else she needs to explain whether he is representing Plaid Cymru policy," said Mr Black.

"His offensive views shouldn't just be swept under the carpet."

Meanwhile, UKIP's candidate for Ceredigion, Gethin James, said: "If a UKIP candidate had written an article in such a derogatory manner, even though it was some time ago, they would be asked to consider their position as a parliamentary candidate."

The candidates so far declared to be standing in Ceredigion are: Henrietta Hensher (Conservative), Jack Huggins (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition), Gethin James (UKIP), Mike Parker (Plaid Cymru), Huw Thomas (Labour), Daniel Thompson (Green Party), and Mark Williams (Liberal Democrats).

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