A BY-ELECTION candidate has defended his position on the political spectrum after being accused of extremism – saying that the main parties are ‘suppressing’ discussions on key issues.
Simon Bellord is standing in the Gosport by-election for the Brockhurst ward, following the death of Cllr Austin Hicks in March.
Representing the British Union and Sovereignty Party, he stands against Labour’s Kirsty Smillie, Conservative candidate Pecs Uluiviti and Siobhan Mitchell from the Liberal Democrats.
But Mr Bellord – a former Woking Borough Council member – has faced criticism from Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr Peter Chegwyn, for his ‘extreme’ views on abortion and homosexuality, which he opposes.
In the past, Mr Bellord has said on social media that being on the far-right is a ‘badge of honour’ – but now says he’s a moderate and ‘not an extremist’.
Cllr Chegwyn said: ‘I’m all for freedom of speech – everyone is entitled to their own opinion – but there’s some people with pretty extreme views and I think people need to be aware of what they’re voting for.
‘He’s put out more leaflets than anyone else so he’s campaigning hard, but I’ve heard from Lib Dems in Woking about what he is like.’
Mr Bellord, who stood for the Conservatives in the same ward last year, has responded by saying that these are issues which need to be discussed, previously tweeting that being far-right ‘should be a new badge of honour’.
He said: ‘This country has taken a bit of a wrong turn, perhaps from being part of the EU.
‘The party believes that there has been a breakdown of family values because of a liberalisation of the country – things like abortion have been damaging to the UK.
‘It’s a pro-family stance and I think that is quite popular with people.
‘Cllr Chegwyn calls it extreme, I say that’s part of the problem. He’s trying to push us away from having these discussions.
‘Labels like ‘far-right’ are used by those who have lost the argument.’
Mr Bellord says that the British Union and Sovereignty Party currently has 11 members in Hampshire – but stands a firm chance of winning the election.
He said: ‘People want their bins clean and value for money for their council tax.
‘There are a lot of people who are unhappy about the way politics is going, so that’s my motivation.’