Ukip’s use of a Royal British Legion poppy in an advert for one of its candidates is “wholly unacceptable”, the charity has said.
The Legion said the poppy, which is sold every year in advance of Remembrance Day, is a registered trademark which should not be used in a political campaign.
The image was used in a newspaper advert for Andrew Charalambous, who is the Ukip candidate in North East Cambridgeshire.
Mr Charalambous, who is Ukip’s housing and environment spokesman, and the party have apologised for using the poppy.
A spokesman for the Royal British Legion told BuzzFeed: “The Legion red poppy is the registered trademark and device of The Royal British Legion and its only lawful use is in the support of our charity and the Poppy Appeal.
“The poppy is entirely non-political, non-partisan, and non-sectarian, and its use in this context is entirely unacceptable. We will take all necessary steps to ensure that this does not happen again.
“We greatly regret and deplore that the universal symbol of valour and sacrifice has been tainted for crass partisan ends by this electoral candidate.”
A Ukip spokesman said: “Mr Charalambous is embarrassed and deeply apologetic that he used the Royal British Legion poppy in his advertisement.
“A member of the Royal British Legion for many years, he apologises profusely. He is adamant he will not do so again. “
The advert read: “All the polls point to hung Parliament. Vote to give the balance of power to Ukip not the Scottish National Party.”
The headline was over a picture of Ukip leader Nigel Farage next to the poppy.