Doncaster MBC’s mayor has resigned from the English Democrats citing concerns about new members joining from the British National Party.
Peter Davies will continue as mayor as an independent and intends to stand for re-election in May while the English Democrats say they will select a new candidate to stand against him.
Mr Davies said he was concerned about BNP members joining the party in recent months and a shift in the party’s stance away from what he described as its moderate, “slightly right of centre” pro-English parliament roots to something further to the right.
He cited the example of the English Democrat’s involvement in a demonstration intended to take place outside the home of radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada. Mr Davies said: “Any political party that gets too extremist seldom gets elected, and on a personal level any right wing extremist activity is an anathema to me.”
The English Democrat party has denied they have been infiltrated by far right elements and party leader Robin Tilbrook was critical of Mr Davies’ track record as a member of the party.
Describing their time as political colleagues as “a rollercoaster ride”, Mr Tilbrook said Mr Davies’ “commitment to English Nationalism has always been somewhat tepid. To take one example among many, he flatly refused to help promote St George’s Day in Doncaster because it would conflict with his attendance at the Scottish horseracing ‘festival’ in Perth.”
Mr Davies described Mr Tilbrook’s comments as “cheap”.
He added: “I have never celebrated St George’s day. I certainly think, in a racing town like Doncaster, that meeting fraternal colleagues in Perth is a far better use of my time than dancing around with a bunch of Morris dancers.”
The English Democrats are expected to announce their mayoral candidate in the next two weeks.