Ex-BNP man suspended after signing papers for Conservative candidate
The British National Party’s former Norfolk candidate signed the nomination papers for a Conservative would-be MP - and has now been suspended from the party.
Dennis Pearce stood for the far-right BNP in the 2010 General Election against Elizabeth Truss in South West Norfolk.
He was also a candidate for the BNP in the 2009 European Elections.
In 2011 his home address was listed in a planning document as the BNP election agent's office.
But he has switched allegiance to the Conservatives and was one of 20 residents to nominate James Wild for the North West Norfolk seat this election.
Mr Pearce, brother of ex-England footballer and coach Stuart Pearce, acknowledged that he changed allegiance but said he did not want to comment further.
The Conservatives, meanwhile, suspended him after being approached by this newspaper on Wednesday.
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Conservative Party agent Ian Sherwood said: "We have now looked into the matter. We were not aware the Mr Pearce had any connections with the BNP, our normal checks did not reveal this fact.
"Mr Pearce has been suspended as a member with immediate effect while we investigate this matter further."
Other candidates questioned how the Conservatives inadvertently associated with the former far-right candidate.
Rob Colwell, who is standing for the Liberal Democrats in the seat, said: "It is yet further evidence of the Tory party move to the far right.
"I want James Wild to immediately distance himself publicly from this man who signed his nomination paper and provide an explanation of his links."
Labour candidate Jo Rust said: "It shows a distinct lack of insight by the Conservative Party to think that someone with this known history is an appropriate person to sign the forms."
The Green Party candidate Michael de Whalley said: "This demonstrates the importance of selecting a candidate who has good local knowledge. I am deeply concerned at the increasing strength of nationalist sentiment within Conservative party ranks. This does not bode well."
Speaking in 2009 about his relationship with his brother Stuart Pearce, Dennis Pearce said: "My brother's political views are his own and are not in anyway reflected in my own views.
"Our family has got different views and respect other people's views. We don't dictate to each other what we should think."
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