Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Friday, 20 March 2009

BNP claims on Churchill 'absurd'

Nicholas Soames, MP
Nicholas Soames has written to the Electoral Commission about the image

Winston Churchill's grandson has said he is outraged by claims the WWII prime minister would support the British National Party were he alive today.

Nicholas Soames, Conservative MP for Mid Sussex, has complained about the use of photographs of his grandfather.

The image of BNP leader Nick Griffin giving the "V for victory" sign next to Churchill was "absurd", he said.

Mr Griffin said the WWII leader would be thrown out of today's Conservative Party for his views.

'Child of generation'

The controversy was sparked when Mr Griffin posed next to a poster of Churchill while visiting a BNP rally in Crawley Down, West Sussex, last week.

Anther picture of the BNP leader apparently standing with Churchill doing the "V for victory" gesture was used on an internet newsletter and a leaflet.

Mr Soames said: "I resent very much and think many people will, the use by the BNP of the use of Winston Churchill showing in a way as if it was to condone their views which quite clearly he would never have done."

Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin said Churchill's political home would be the BNP

Nicholas Soames has consulted lawyers and written to the Electoral Commission about the BNP using his grandfather's image.

Mr Griffin said: "If you look at what Churchill said and wrote about the issues affecting our times, mass immigration, dangers of radical Islam, you would see that Churchill, were he alive today, would be thrown out of the Conservative Party for things he said and his political home would be with the British National Party."

However, Mr Soames said his grandfather, who joined the army while Queen Victoria was monarch and died in 1965, was a "child of his generation".

"Politics and life has moved on and I think to claim the views of someone who is dead as being the views of a current political party is completely unacceptable," he said.

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