A CANDIDATE for the Cornwall Council elections next week has been disowned by her party after they found out she was once a member of the British National Party.
The United Kingdom Independence Party made the move on Monday after being told that Sue Bowen from Boscastle, who is standing for the Tintagel ward, was, for a short time, a member of the right-wing party.
UKIP told the Cornish Guardian in a statement: "It has come to our attention that our candidate for Cornwall Council in Tintagel, Sue Bowen, was formerly, for a short time, a member of the BNP.
"UKIP's rules do not permit former members of the BNP to join the party or stand as candidates for us, so we have formally withdrawn our support from this candidate."
Mrs Bowen, 73, a retired sheep farmer, said yesterday that UKIP had informed her of their decision and she accepted it.
"If UKIP want to withdraw their support, then so be it. I was just printing off my election leaflets when they told me. I can't withdraw from the election now my name is on the ballot, but I will not be canvassing.
"I was in the BNP for just six months three years ago. I joined for the same reasons I joined UKIP, because I felt they would do something for the country.
"I am no Nazi and I was duped into joining the BNP. I didn't like my country being given away to foreigners. As a farmer I have seen the Ministry of Agriculture handed to Europe and it is now a French-style department – Defra.
"I have only been in UKIP five minutes and I am not throwing my baby out of the pram.
"I won't be getting into politics again."
Mrs Bowen said she believes a member of Mebyon Kernow, the party she also once belonged to, had informed UKIP of her BNP membership.
She accused them of being childish as she stood for MK in council elections some years ago and said she received a good proportion of the votes.
Tom Hobbs, of St Dennis, who is chairman of UKIP in Cornwall, said Mrs Bowen had approached them saying she was a disillusioned Tory and had signed a document saying she had not belonged to a party such as the BNP and there were no skeletons in her cupboard which could cause embarrassment. "As soon as I was made aware by Mebyon Kernow that she had been a member of the BNP I asked her and she said she had been. I told her that her membership of UKIP would be terminated."
Mrs Bowen, who walked from Cornwall to London in the Keskerth Kernow march in 2007 to mark 500 years since the Cornish Rebellion, said: " I would like to keep Cornwall Council as it used to be. Instead of canvassing for the election I shall be on the road and heading for my roots in Lancashire."
The two other candidates contesting the seat are the present member, Glenton Brown (Lib Dem) and Conservative Paul Charlesworth.