Outrage as far-right leader linked to Marine Le Pen spotted campaigning for Conservatives
An ex-Ukip MEP who is vice-president of Marine Le Pen’s far-right European Parliament grouping has been campaigning for the Conservative Party. Janice Atkinson, who was suspended from Ukip in March 2015, was seen helping Gravesham Tory candidate Adam Holloway at the Conservative Party stall in the town centre of Gravesend, Kent, on Saturday. Rival election candidates at their own stalls next door said it was “absolutely outrageous” that such a “divisive” figure was in the constituency backing the Conservatives.
James Willis, the Liberal Democrat election candidate, said he was shocked to spot Ms Atkinson helping Mr Holloway at the Conservative Party stall.
“I am really bothered about this. Vile people like that should not be encouraged by decent moderate parties…To be friends with someone like that, shows they are quite right-wing behind the scenes. Not all of them – some of the young Conservatives I spoke to were unhappy about her being there. I don’t think Adam Holloway is an extremist, but he has shown bad judgement. Having her at the stand with you when you are supposed to be a reasonable mainstream MP is shocking.”
Mr Willis was backed by Green Party candidate Marna Gilligan, who said:
“Janice Atkinson is a really divisive figure. We need to be working together in Gravesend, rather than promoting division, which is what she does.”
But Mr Holloway, who is defending a majority of 8,370, defended having Ms Atkinson help with his campaign:
“I am delighted to be a friend of Janice,” he said. “She can have her views on things. Mine are rather different, but Janice is one of my friends. She came to help, and I will take help from any friends when they offer it.”
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