UKIP defends MEP's 'Hitler speech' advice

A UKIP rosette Image copyright Reuters

UKIP has defended one of its MEPs who allegedly advised prospective party candidates to learn from the speaking style of Adolf Hitler.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Bill Etheridge described the Nazi dictator as a "magnetic and forceful" performer who "achieved a great deal".

The West Midlands MEP spoke at a public speaking seminar at the Young Independence Conference in Birmingham.

UKIP said Mr Etheridge was discussing the style of great public speakers.

The newspaper says Mr Etheridge told the class: "Look back to the most magnetic and forceful public speaker possibly in history.

"When Hitler gave speeches, and many of the famous ones were at rallies, at the start he walks, back and forth, looked at people - there was a silence, he waited minutes just looking out at people, fixing them with his gaze.

"They were looking back and he would do it for a while. And then they were so desperate for him to start, when he started speaking they were hanging on his every word.

'I'm not saying direct copy - pick up little moments."

'Truly disgusting'

Labour MP Mike Gapes told the MoS: "I thought nothing could surprise me any more, but this just goes to show that Farage has completely failed to clean up his party.

"One of his MEPs training young candidates to speak like Hitler? Simply unbelievable."

A spokesman for UKIP said: "Bill Etheridge gave a seminar on public speaking and highlighted great speakers of the past, like Churchill, Blair, Martin Luther King and Hitler as people whose style, not content could be studied."

He also described the Mail on Sunday as "a Tory paper... terrified by the rise of UKIP and apparently will stoop to nothing to attack the party.

"We are disappointed, but unsurprised.

"During a period of respectful and pensive commemoration of those who gave their lives in war, the Tory Mail on Sunday's tasteless and desperate front page attack is truly disgusting."

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