UKIP were embroiled in another Nazi row yesterday after an election candidate posted a doctored picture of himself on Twitter – with ADOLF HITLER.
Richard Delingpole, 46, uploaded the photo-shopped snap saying he was exposing the Tories who he claimed were trying to smear his colleagues by trawling their social media accounts looking for incriminating pictures and comments.
But despite opponents branding the stunt as “shocking and abhorrent”, UKIP stood by Delingpole and said the graphic designer was simply displaying a “sense of humour”.
Delingpole superimposed his head onto a black and white picture of three Nazis standing behind Hitler which was taken in the 1920s.
He posted it on Tuesday April 30, with the caption: “I really must get rid of these old Facebook pictures before the Tories get hold of them.”
A Conservative councillor in another part of the country saw the tweet, and tipped off colleagues in the Riverside borough of Worcester where Delingpole is a candidate.
Delingpole, who sports a distinctive handlebar moustache and takes part in historic battle re-enactments, said the picture was a humorous commentary.
He said: “There’s a story going around that the Tories are trawling Facebook accounts of UKIP candidates to drag up things about them.
“This was a joke based on that. Of course people won’t think I’m an Adolf Hitler sympathiser.
“It’s clearly a picture I have Photoshopped, it shows we’ve got a sense of humour.”
In a blog post in response to the incident, he added: “I am adamant that I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of, nothing that I wouldn’t happily share with the world.
“I decided that eradicating some of my more amusing moments from Facebook so that I could become a little bit more like a politician was the thin end of a wedge that would lead to me becoming everything I hate about most politicians – sanitised, humourless and robotic.”
Carl Humphries, UKIP branch organiser for Worcester and Mid-Worcestershire, said that the party would not suspend Mr Delingpole.
He said: “He is definitely not a Nazi, he’s got a very deep sense of humour.
“He has been vetted, all our candidates are clean but I am sorry if this offended people.”
Opposing Tory candidate Simon Geraghty blasted Delingpole for the “dreadful” stunt.
He said: “I find it sickening and abhorrent. It’s not funny at all, it’s dreadful.”
A spokesman from UKIP HQ said that all its candidates were vetted and they had no concerns about Delingpole.
He said: “Richard Delingpole’s not dodgy in any way – he did it because he’s fed up of people being professionally outraged.”
Nigel Farage was unable for comment yesterday but party spokesperson Annabelle Fuller said: “I’m getting sick of the Tories.
“Mr Delingpole’s picture is clearly a dig at the appalling and pathetic attempts by the Tories to divert attention from their dire track record in town halls and instead attack a UKIP candidate.”
It is not the first time Delingpole has posted a joke about the Nazi leader on Twitter.
In January he wrote: “People only say Hitler was an environmentalist and vegetarian to make him look bad.”
UKIP has been forced to suspend three of its 1,734 candidates in the run-up to today’s elections after their links to right-wing groups emerged.
Fellow candidates in Riverside are Lynn Denham (Labour), Louise Stephen (Green), Sean McCauley (Trade Unionists and Socialists Against the Cuts) and Julie Whitwam (BNP).