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Last Updated: Friday, 6 February, 2004, 18:36 GMT
Editor defends 'BNP pub' claim
New Statesman logo and article
The article was written after the author was "stranded" in Welshpool
A magazine editor has defended an article which angered politicians by portraying a mid Wales pub as the haunt of supporters of the far-right British National Party.

Peter Wilby, of the weekly current affairs publication New Statesman, said he stood by the article in which a journalist described the Welshpool pub-goers as listening to German marching music and wearing BNP badges.

Mid and West Wales Assembly Member Glyn Davies attacked the article as an "unjustified and disgraceful slur" on his home town.

Montgomery MP Lembit Opik also challenged writer Jack Jameson to visit Welshpool to see what the town is really like.

We didn't name the pub because we didn't want to make things difficult for that particular publican
Peter Wilby, editor, New Statesman

Mr Jameson said in the article that his evening ended with everyone in the bar - which is not named - standing and giving Hitler salutes as the German national anthem, Deutschland Über Alles, played.

But Mr Davies, a Conservative, has written to the magazine asking for a right of reply.

He said he believed the journalist had made too much of the fact that the BNP's leader, Nick Griffin, lives near the town.

He said he had tried to contact Mr Jameson to ask for more details.

"I believe he has assumed, without any justification, that because Nick Griffin and his family live near Welshpool, it follows that there is support for the BNP in the area.

The article claims that locals made Nazi salutes

"As far as I know there has never been a BNP candidate seeking election in Montgomeryshire and if they did there would be no support worth mentioning."

Mr Davies' view was backed by Welshpool mayor Shane Squibb, who said: "The BNP are not very strong in Welshpool and I never hear of much activity by them in the town."

Complaint letter

But Mr Wilby told BBC News Online that the story - headlined Weimar in Wales - was "nothing to do with the town itself."

Mr Wilby said it was simply one person's account of his experience after his car had broken down in the area.

He said: "It was just a story about an incident that happened to someone who had been into this town.

"We didn't name the pub because we didn't want to make things difficult for that particular publican."

He added that the magazine had received Mr Davies' letter and was considering it for publication.

Mr Jameson was said to be abroad and uncontactable.

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