The controversial British National Party has confirmed that one of its members will bid to become the next Norwich North MP.
Robert West, founder of the Christian Council of Britain and who describes himself as a “reverend” on the BNP website, will officially stand to replace Ian Gibson.
He was the lead candidate for the BNP, which has been condemned for its extreme views, in the East Midlands but did not gain enough votes to win a seat in the European Parliament last month.
Today, MPs and councillors hit out at the party and said their extremism was not welcome. North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said: “I want voters to reject extremism and if anyone stands for the BNP they should be rejected. They are a racist party and are preying on vulnerable people.
“I believe in treating people equally and this party does not share this view.”
Tim East, a South Norfolk councillor for Costessey, said: “Before anyone has a chance of being elected we need to know their full background. There should be complete transparency into people's pasts before the public can make a valued judgement.”
Mr West caused controversy on BBC1 in February when he said the answer to the recession was for women to “work at home”, and he is against all forms of multi-culturalism.
The 53-year-old, who lives near Spalding in south Lincolnshire, said today: “We are taking a strong anti-immigration line. And we are against the issue of sovereignty to the European community. I believe multi-culturalism is unnecessary and evil.
“I want the people of Norwich to follow this line and realise we have not been tough enough on immigration. I do not want anywhere in this country turning into the Middle East.
“This is Britain and I will fight to keep it that way.”
Mr West said although he does not live in the city he believes he can represent people here because he comes from a “rural community” which is similar to Norfolk and he has lectured for the University of East Anglia (UEA).
He admitted to possessing old fashioned views but said he wants to tell people in Norwich the truth about what he represents and “not a pack of lies”. He said he believes the market has been flooded with women working and it would be “better if they stayed at home”.
“The domestic sphere is a natural place for a woman to be,” he said. “I honestly think it is woman's right to be at home. Women should get married and their first priority should be the home.
“Recently the home has been abandoned and this modern way does not work. I think many women agree with this, even though they are working themselves.
“This is my view and I hope to get the people of Norwich to listen to this.”
Mr West is one of several candidates poised to try and take the Norwich North seat, which belonged to Ian Gibson before he was forced to step down in the face of the Westminster expenses scandal.
Dr Gibson quit after he was deselected by the Labour Party for claiming for a flat which his daughter and her boyfriend lived in rent free before he sold it to them at a reduced rate.
The BNP failed to win seven Norfolk seats in the county council elections earlier this month, including Sprowston.
NorwichEvening News 24