The first-ever British National Party councilor in Wales has been urged to resign his seat and fight a by-election under his new colors
Retired Coldstream Guardsman Mike Howard, 69, has written to the people of Rhewl, in Flintshire, telling them he has joined the far-right BNP, widely regarded as a racist party. Last week, the BNP called for all British Muslims to be banned from flying in the wake of the terror alert. Mr Howard was elected to Mostyn Community Council in 2004 as an independent.
One person who has been involved in local politics and knows Mr Howard said, 'I am very shocked to learn he has joined the BNP. I certainly don't think it will go down well in the area. Rhewl is a quiet place with few immigrants.'
Another local who has seen Mr Howard's contribution to council meetings said, 'He is not a tub-thumper in any way and is always very courteous. In many ways he is a perfect gentleman.'
In a letter distributed to his constituents in recent days, Mr Howard states, 'At the council elections I was elected by local support to represent the community and I hope I have done this to your satisfaction. Working together we have improved village life.
'My reason for writing to you is my conscience will no longer allow me to support Government policies. Jobs, pensions, health service, law and order, immigration, to name but a few that are sorely neglected.
For example, pensions should be linked to earnings. The £5bn that Gordon Brown takes from private pensions annually should cease. Pensioners should not have to sell their home to fund nursing-home care.
'Accordingly, I have decided to support the British National Party. Not to be confused with the National Front, which is a militant organisation. I have enclosed a leaflet illustrating all the points I am sure are dear to you and your families. So join me and support this party, which will in turn improve your quality of life.'
A spokesman for Welsh Labour, whose MP David Hanson and AM Sandy Mewies represent Delyn, the constituency covering Mostyn, said, 'The vile and racist views of the BNP are not shared by his constituents. He wasn't elected under that party's banner and he should now have the courage of his convictions to offer himself for election as a BNP candidate. He should resign his seat and fight a by-election.'
Mr Howard said last night, 'I see no reason why I should resign my seat. The community council is not political and, as a private individual, I can support which party I like.'
Britain Does Not Know Why It Exists
Street unrest feared over terror arrests
Whose Side Are They On?
Hunt for chemistry student in British mass-terror plot
Plot Shows Rise of Extremism in Europe
Today's media: Blind to the obvious