REPORTS of a far-right political activist living in a sleepy South Derbyshire village have drawn condemnation from community leaders and residents.
Sudbury resident Matthew Gill, who recently stepped down as policies officer for the New British Union, has ruffled feathers after being quoted in the national press defending Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
The New British Union is an openly fascist party aiming to follow ‘in the footsteps of Oswald Mosley’ – the leader of the British Union of Fascists in the 1930’s .
Before the Second World War, Mosley’s group, which were distinguished by their black shirts, voiced support for Hitler’s Germany.
Mr Gill, reportedly said: “Mussolini was not anti-Semitic, he got carried away. He got in with the wrong crowd — with Hitler. But you can’t compare us to Nazism — they were National Socialists, I’m not.”
But Councillor Albert Catt, who represents Sudbury and Doveridge on Derbyshire Dales District Council, salmmed the comments and the organisation saying they belong in a ‘feudal society’.
Councillor Catt told the Mail: “We have moved on a long way since then. He is lucky he lives in a world where such extreme views can be held without fear.
“Fortunately those which hold such extreme views are a tiny minority.”
Councillor Catt called Gill’s views ‘abhorrent’ saying Sudbury ‘is a very close knit community and a village in which everybody knows one another. Most people would be shocked to know there is someone who holds these views.’
Councillor Catt added that he has never had any dealings with Mr Gill.
Another resident who asked not to be named said: “I think his comments are ridiculous. He says Mussolini got carried away – getting carried away is being caught smoking behind the bike shed, not being a dictator.”
The New British Union had not responded to a request to speak to Mr Gill at the time of going to press.