UKIP Bill bites back after Tory claims he hit a hat-trick of political own goals

Cllr Bill Etheridge MEP says allegations he encouraged young UKIP supporters to speak like Hitler are just Tory smears

Cllr Bill Etheridge MEP says allegations he encouraged young UKIP supporters to speak like Hitler are just Tory smears

First published in News by

A SEDGLEY councillor and MEP has hit back after being accused of completing a hat-trick of political own goals.

UKIP’s Bill Etheridge says is determined to fight smear tactics following allegations in the national press he coached young people to “speak like Hitler”.

The allegations were made by the Mail on Sunday which said Mr Etheridge told an audience at the Young Independence conference in Birmingham that the World War II Nazi leader was a magnetic and forceful public speaker who achieved a great deal.

Cllr Etheridge said: “I am angry, frustrated and very upset, I spoke about Blair, Reagan, Martin Luther King and Gandhi. I spoke about Hitler as well - for two minutes out of 20, I said at the start he was a monster.

“It is an attack by the Mail Group to satisfy their political masters in the Tory party. I would ask their editor in a very serious way to consider the effect they have on people by pursuing their own political agenda and smearing peoples’ names in this way.”

Cllr Etheridge, who won both his seats in the 2014 May elections and is UKIP’s candidate for the Dudley North constituency in next year’s general election, admits he is on a steep learning curve but does not intend to resign and says he has the full support of his party.

He said: “If you want a slick professional politician I am not your man, I have never pretended to be. I am a straight talking ordinary bloke.”

The UKIP man’s judgement has been called into question by Dudley’s Conservative leader, Cllr Patrick Harley, who said: “He has a history of gaffes; this is the third time he has got into trouble. It is up the powers-that-be at UKIP to deal with this, it is naivety in the extreme.”

Cllr Etheridge left the Conservative party after being pictured with a gollywog toy in 2011 and found himself at the centre of a second controversy a year later when he was heavily criticised for a remark on Facebook relating to pervert DJ Jimmy Savile.

The Savile story broke in 2012 when Cllr Etheridge was standing for election as West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and resulted in Cllr Harley calling him a buffoon and suggesting he should “forget about standing for public office”.

Dudley Labour politicians have also been queuing up to take a swipe at Cllr Etheridge. Cllr Dave Branwood, Dudley cabinet member for adult and community services, said: “There are no words. No, that’s not exactly true. There is one word..why?”.

His cabinet colleague, Cllr Kurshid Ahmed, thinks the police should take a look at the remarks to see if they are likely to cause racial tensions.

Cllr Ahmed said: “A person who is a councillor and MEP, and prospective MP, should practice public responsibility and accountability and be careful not to enflame issues.”

Keith Rowe, UKIP’s candidate for West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner slammed the suggestion of a police investigation.

Mr Rowe said: "No reading of the law would justify wasting police time and resources on a matter like this. It is appalling that they think it is OK to attempt to trigger a baseless and ludicrous police investigation in order to score political points and get media coverage.”

Cllr Etheridge said: “I regret I used Hitler as an example, it has allowed people to accuse me of awful things.

“I would ask my constituents to have faith in me fighting for the things they care about and ask them to look at me in that regard and make their judgement – not be fooled by this horrible smear.”

Comments (4)

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9:22am Wed 13 Aug 14

Tommym says...

Mr Etheridge should have chosen his words more wisely only because has a spokesman for UKIP he should be aware that the msm are looking for any excuse to twist their words.
Has for the false outrage and comments by Labour and Conservative councillors the only word really is they are pathetic.
You have our support Bill which is why you are getting so much flak, take heart from our support and the comments made by Ann Widdecombe one politician who still as some decency left in them.
Mr Etheridge should have chosen his words more wisely only because has a spokesman for UKIP he should be aware that the msm are looking for any excuse to twist their words. Has for the false outrage and comments by Labour and Conservative councillors the only word really is they are pathetic. You have our support Bill which is why you are getting so much flak, take heart from our support and the comments made by Ann Widdecombe one politician who still as some decency left in them. Tommym
  • Score: 3

7:24am Tue 19 Aug 14

viktoria says...

"You have our support Bill which is why you are getting so much flak"

If that's true then maybe he doesn't want your support?

You have to give him points for trying but Bill Etheridge really needs to wise up and get educated if he is to get anywhere. He's a former everything - former Conservative Councillor, former Dudley Group of Hospitals Governor, last place in the Police and Crime Commissioner election. Being an "ordinary bloke" is not the best qualification for the complex and challenging roles of governing a country.
"You have our support Bill which is why you are getting so much flak" If that's true then maybe he doesn't want your support? You have to give him points for trying but Bill Etheridge really needs to wise up and get educated if he is to get anywhere. He's a former everything - former Conservative Councillor, former Dudley Group of Hospitals Governor, last place in the Police and Crime Commissioner election. Being an "ordinary bloke" is not the best qualification for the complex and challenging roles of governing a country. viktoria
  • Score: -3

7:56am Tue 19 Aug 14

dudley old boy says...

viktoria wrote:
"You have our support Bill which is why you are getting so much flak"

If that's true then maybe he doesn't want your support?

You have to give him points for trying but Bill Etheridge really needs to wise up and get educated if he is to get anywhere. He's a former everything - former Conservative Councillor, former Dudley Group of Hospitals Governor, last place in the Police and Crime Commissioner election. Being an "ordinary bloke" is not the best qualification for the complex and challenging roles of governing a country.
Are you saying you need good qualifications in telling porkies to be a role model to govern a country.
[quote][p][bold]viktoria[/bold] wrote: "You have our support Bill which is why you are getting so much flak" If that's true then maybe he doesn't want your support? You have to give him points for trying but Bill Etheridge really needs to wise up and get educated if he is to get anywhere. He's a former everything - former Conservative Councillor, former Dudley Group of Hospitals Governor, last place in the Police and Crime Commissioner election. Being an "ordinary bloke" is not the best qualification for the complex and challenging roles of governing a country.[/p][/quote]Are you saying you need good qualifications in telling porkies to be a role model to govern a country. dudley old boy
  • Score: -1

6:09pm Tue 19 Aug 14

Sam Vimes says...

It seems "naivety" is the new excuse for 'kipper gaffes. Etheridge used it and Atkinson used it after her fabulous "ting tong" moment the other day. Smear or just waiting for a 'kipper to speak in public? You decide.
It seems "naivety" is the new excuse for 'kipper gaffes. Etheridge used it and Atkinson used it after her fabulous "ting tong" moment the other day. Smear or just waiting for a 'kipper to speak in public? You decide. Sam Vimes
  • Score: 0

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