Retiring Gravesham councillor labels UKIP as 'the BNP in suits'

PUBLISHED: 10:16 02 May 2013 | UPDATED: 10:28 02 May 2013

A retiring Northfleet and Gravesham West councillor has labelled UKIP as "the BNP in suits" ahead of today's local election.

Leslie Christie, 74, has decided not to run for the seat he has held since first elected in 1994 and gave his views on UKIP shortly after attending his final Kent County Council meeting.

The Labour man fears the right-wing party may receive a large number of protest votes, but believes they will fail to win any seats.

He said: “I think UKIP is the BNP in suits. You just have to look at some of their candidates falling off the wagon daily.

“They could be an easy choice for people fed up with politics, but I don’t see them winning any seats - though they could cause a few problems along the way.”

The UKIP candidate for Mr Christie’s old seat, in Northfleet and Gravesham West, labelled the comments as “completely false” and “particularly nasty”.

Michael Dixon, one of two candidates for the party in the Gravesham area, said: “If the party was anything like the BNP I wouldn’t have joined.

“It’s a young party. We got together 1,700 candidates very quickly and didn’t have time to vet all of them properly. I’m not denying a few have slipped through the net.

“In the last 12 months this party has risen greatly, I think we will get a lot of new votes but to say a vote for UKIP is a protest vote isn’t strictly true.”

Polls have been open across Dartford and Gravesham since 7am, and will remain open until 10pm tonight. The count will begin tomorrow at around 10am, with the winning councillors expected to be announced at around noon.

To keep up-to-date with the count tomorrow, follow our live twitter updates @northkentnews.

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