Row over Leeds UKIP candidate’s list of Facebook ‘likes’

John Withill, UKIP candidate in Leeds Armley ward.

John Withill, UKIP candidate in Leeds Armley ward.

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A ROW has erupted after it emerged that a Leeds UKIP candidate had liked Nazi war criminals on his Facebook page.

John Withill, who is standing as a UKIP candidate in the Armley ward of Leeds, created a section on his public Facebook page listing a collection of ‘inspirational people’.

The move has attracted condemnation from anti-fascist campaigners.

Mr Withill insists the page comes merely from his interest in military history. He had also ‘liked’ historical figures such as George Washington and Gandhi.

But his interests have been highlighted on the Hope Not Hate website. They say the people he ‘likes’ include convicted war criminals Kurt Student, Albert Kesselring and Albert Speer.

Hope Not Hate writer Simon Cressey said: “We all have heroes and we all take inspiration from a variety of people. So imagine my amazement when I discovered that a Leeds UKIP candidate listed a number of Nazi war criminals as some of the people that inspired him.”

The YEP made repeated attempts to contact Mr Withill, who lives in Bramley, but he did not respond. On his own Facebook page Mr Withill stated: “I have had Hope Not Hate trolling me today, trying to imply that because of an interest in Military History (World War two - The Napoleonic Wars - the Indian Army and Fortresses of the 17th and 18th centuries) that knowledge and interest in some of the Military leaders of the Third Reich implies that in some way my politics is influenced by this. If you had taken the time to read my post which included some words about some of the really nasty people involved in Nazi Germany - you would have seen the exact wording - it is still on this FB page - and says nothing of the sort posted by your Simon Cressey. You really do need to stop all this nasty inaccurate mud slinging, it just isn’t working and does your cause no credit whatsoever.”

l Other candidates standing in the Armley ward are: Green Party, Yvonne Clarke; TUSC, Iain Dalton; Lib Dem, Christine Glover; Tory, Mohammed Rahman and Labour, Alice Smart.

PC Mark Fox, the Higher Education Liaison Officer for Leeds Beckett University.

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