'We won't be voting for Hitler fan'

BRITISH National Party supporters in Sheffield have said they will not vote for a Nazi sympathiser standing for parliament.

Senior BNP figure Mark Collett, aged 29, has been parachuted into Sheffield to contest David Blunkett's Brightside and Hillsborough seat.

The party polled well in the area in the 2008 council elections, pulling up to a quarter of votes in some wards such as Southey and Firth Park.

But readers reacted with horror when The Star revealed the Leeds-based BNP publicity director had previously expressed his admiration for Adolf Hitler – even saying on tape "Hitler will live forever", and that people in 1930s Germany were happier than in the "inner-city hell of Britain today".

By lunchtime yesterday 50 people had commented on The Star website - with many readers arguing Labour's failure to control immigration had led to the rise of the far-right party.

One reader from Rotherham said: "I am a BNP supporter – I have been for the last couple of years and I am not ashamed to admit it either – but I am glad I have not stayed in Sheffield if this is the sort of man we will have standing for the next election."

A Crystal Peaks resident said: "I have voted BNP before but I won't do again if this individual is standing in the Sheffield area. His views of Hitler are wrong, and he is not a local person so how can he know what the voters round here want?"

A Sheffield man said: "I would vote for anyone against Blunkett – but the BNP have shot themselves in the foot here. They should have had someone local with knowledge of local problems. Not this man."

Defending his comments, Mr Collett told The Star: "That all happened a long time ago. We all say things when we are younger that we look back on and think 'Why did I say that?'

"The issues have moved on and people aren't interested in what I may have said or not said seven or eight years ago."

The BNP is contesting four parliamentary seats and putting up candidates for 16 Sheffield Council wards.

Council leader Paul Scriven said: "I would urge people to think very carefully at the forthcoming election before putting a cross next to the BNP because the party offers no real solutions to Sheffield's issues and will only cause greater division."

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