Press Association (UK), May 15, 2005
A councillor and church leader who taught equal opportunities law to university students today announced his defection to the far right British National Party.
The Reverend Robert West was recently suspended from being a Tory member of South Holland District Council, in Lincolnshire, after he spoke at a meeting of the BNP.
His appeal against the decision had been “unlikely to succeed”, said Conservative chiefs today.
But the 50-year-old said his switch was prompted by Conservative leader David Cameron’s priority list of parliamentary candidates for the next general election.
The Tories hope their so-called A-list — which features a high proportion of women and people from ethnic minorities — will help make them more representative of the population.
In a statement, Mr West said: “I have decided to seek refuge from political correctness by applying for asylum with the British National Party — Britain’s finest and most decent party — in our country’s hour of need.
“The Conservative Party’s list of candidates which deliberately exclude white male candidates in favour of women, non-white and homosexual or lesbian candidates, is discrimination of the worst kind.”
Mr West said he had been a lecturer in political philosophy and equal opportunities law and taught under franchise at the universities of Nottingham and East Anglia.
He is now a supply teacher but would not reveal at which schools.
He said he had set up his own church, based in a house in Holbeach, to preach “traditional bible beliefs”.
Asked what he had to say to his voters in Lincolnshire, he said: “I wrote my own manifesto and they voted for my manifesto.”
Conservative deputy chairman Eric Pickle said: “Robert West was suspended about a month ago.
“He made inquiries into appealing that decision. His behaviour was a matter of concern for some time and following his latest indiscretion of speaking at a BNP meeting, his appeal is unlikely to succeed.”