Former Tory Minister Backs UKIP Man in Hitler Row

Former Tory Minister Backs UKIP Man in Hitler Row

A former Conservative Party minister has waded into the row surrounding UKIP Member of the European Parliament Bill Etheridge after the Daily Mail’s attempt to smear the man over comments made about Hitler’s speaking capabilities. 

In a story published this weekend, the Mail alleged that Etheridge’s speech to UKIP’s youth conference earlier this month was tantamount to an endorsement of the Nazi dictator simply because Etheridge told students to watch what an effective public speaker Hitler was and mimic some of his crowd-pleasing traits.

Etheridge had also lauded Martin Luther King and Tony Blair’s engagement abilities, but the headline read, “Ukip MEP sparks anger as he tells its youth wing to copy Nazi leader”.

Now the former Conservative Party minister Ann Widdecombe has rowed into the debate in and article for the Daily Express in which she writes:

“I AM NOT in the business of defending some of the wilder statements made by members of Ukip but I cannot help feeling that the row over references to Hitler in a training session on oratory has been blown out of all proportion.

“It is a fact that Hitler’s ability to excite a crowd accounted for a great deal of his success as did Churchill’s very different ability to inspire determination and take people with him account for much of his success. Both used different but compelling oratory, one playing on grievance, the other on decency. Evangelists use movement and declamatory styles to inspire crowds.

“…while Bill Etheridge has, not for the first time, shown an appalling lack of judgment but there is no evidence that either is a closet Nazi, which is what some of the coverage is quite shamefully trying to imply. No wonder serious people are put off public life.”

Widdecombe was a Conservative Party Minister between 1995 and 1997, serving in Parliament for 10 years. She is known for her staunch Catholic views following her conversion from the Church of England over the issue of female priests.