UKIP local Chairman: ‘I obviously regret’ joining the National Front

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

A UKIP chairman in Thanet South, the Kent constituency where Nigel Farage hopes to become an MP, has expressed “regret” over his previous National Front membership.

Martyn Heale, now a Kent County Councillor for UKIP, was a member of the far-right organisation in the 1970s, but he insists he is not racist.

“I obviously regret what I did.”

He also told the BBC it was “really depressing” to be reminded of his past.

The National Front (NF) is a British far-right political party for whites only, opposed to non-white immigration, and committed to a programme of repatriation. The party supports the use of capital punishment for crimes of murder, rape, paedophilia, and terrorism.

It has urged for the reintroduction of Section 28 and has voiced support for the recriminalisation of homosexuality. The party adopts a strongly pro-life stance, describing abortion as a “crime against humanity” and would repeal the 1967 Abortion Act.

In 2010, it put up 17 candidates for the general election and 18 candidates for the local elections, but none were elected.

The party has never won a seat in Parliament, and its few council seats have only been obtained through defection and appointment.

Mr Heale has been a member of UKIP for more than a decade, and prior to that was a Conservative activist for almost 20 years.

He acknowledged that in the late 70s he was an active member of the National Front for more than a year.

A spokesman for UKIP said Mr Heale had been a party member for several years before the ban on former members of far-right organisations was brought in.

To expel him “would be contrary to natural justice”, the spokesman said.

While denying accusations of fascism, NF has cultivated links with neo-Nazi cells at home and abroad, and the British police and prison services forbid their employees to be members of the party.