A man who described himself as NI21’s first prospective council candidate last night found himself rejected by the party after it was told he has described his political views as “to the right of Hitler”.
Chris Lennox made the comment on his Facbebook page and has made provocative remarks attacking Jesus Christ, leading the deputy leader of the Province’s newest political party to suggest that he is unlikely to represent it.
In an apparent attempt at humour that remained online last night, the 37-year-old described his politics with reference to the Nazis in a section where Facebook users are given the opportunity to describe their politics: “To the right of Hitler”. He also described his religion as “Stone-Cold Atheist” and claimed to speak “Klingon”.
The Kesh man, who is originally from Cookstown, also wrote on his Twitter account in 2012: “I must laugh at the Christians scoffing at Mitt Romney’s Mormon beliefs. Yeah, because a 2,000 year old Jewish zombie makes sooo much sense.”
But despite describing himself as right-wing, the freelance marketing consultant was less than pleased when local UUP MLA Tom Elliott suggested that naming a building after Margaret Thatcher. He wrote on Twitter: “Did you catch TomE suggesting naming stuff in Fermanagh after LadyT? Typically moronic.”
The News Letter yesterday sent messages to Mr Lennox via two of his social media accounts but at the time of going to press he had not responded.
In an interview with local newspaper The Impartial Reporter published yesterday he explained his decision to join NI21: “On a personal level, Northern Ireland politics has always made me angry. I am not a fan of the politics of old.”
NI21’s deputy leader John McCallister expressed shock when told of the remarks. He said there are no candidates confirmed but that “presumably he wants to be considered for selection as a candidate”.
The South Down MLA said that mentioning Hitler when describing his political views “doesn’t leave much room for doubt” and that “poking fun at people’s faith or religious beliefs” was unacceptable.
He added: “This is the thing when people put their name forward or want to be considered, not just for NI21 but for any party, they have to realise that what they say or do on Facebook or Twitter suddenly becomes of interest to people.”
Asked if there was much chance of someone with Mr Lennox’s views standing for NI21, Mr McCallister said: “No.”
After speaking to leader Basil McCrea, he later said that Mr Lennox had applied to join the party but added: “I’ve stopped that.”
The UK Independence Party, some of whose candidates have faced disciplinary action for wildly provocative views, last night said it was “appalled” at Mr Lennox’s “extremism”.
Prospective Erne East UKIP candidate Fred Parkinson said: “I am appalled any political party would consider running anyone with such extremist views.
“Northern Ireland is a community which has borne the brunt of vicious and murderous terror campaigns over the past few decades, and if any candidate with pro-Hitler or Nazi views thinks this is a place they can gain electoral support, they are sadly mistaken.”