Duncan Smith continues purge of right-wingers

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Indy Politics

Iain Duncan Smith continued to purge right-wingers from his campaign on Monday as the race storm engulfing the Tory party showed no signs of abating.

Andrew Hunter, the MP for Basingstoke, has been quietly removed from the official list of supporters on Mr Duncan Smith's website, after reports that he is the patron of a magazine that has links to racist organisations. Mr Hunter is also deputy chairman of the Monday Club, a right-wing Tory association that declares its support for the voluntary repatriation of immigrants.

Mr Duncan Smith's aides sought to defuse the storm over his links to the extreme right, as he spoke of himself as a "one-nation Tory" who wanted to make the party more inclusive. A spokesman said: "Andrew is an MP and he supported Iain at the parliamentary stage. He is not active or a member of his campaign team."

Mr Hunter, who appeared on the Tory leadership contender's website in July as one of "the latest list of MPs publicly declared for Iain Duncan Smith" has now had his name quietly removed from the list.

The MP is patron of Right Now!, a far-right magazine that Robin Cook, the Leader of the Commons, said should be shut down. In a recent issue, the publication reviewed a book described as "a brave broadside against the anti-racist fanatics", which claimed that the "real target of the Macpherson Report [into the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence] is Britain itself".

The magazine's website includes links to racist publications in the United States, including one, American Renaissance, which claims that "blacks are as much more dangerous than whites as men are more dangerous than women". An entry on the site entitled "The Colour of Crime" says: "Blacks are statistically 50 times more likely to attack whites than vice versa."

American Renaissance includes derogatory material about the educational achievements of Afro-Caribbeans, and includes an article this month that claims: "A visit to any large town in Western Europe will turn up staggering numbers of uneducated non-whites, mostly Muslims."

Derek Turner, the editor of Right Now!, said he was preparing to support Mr Duncan Smith's rival for the leadership, Kenneth Clarke, "for tactical reasons", despite having right-wing, Eurosceptic views. But this was widely interpreted as a ruse to embarrass Mr Clarke, who has strenuously attempted to distance himself from extreme Conservative elements.

Mr Clarke broke his silence about far-right infiltration of the Tory party last night in a speech to Asian leaders in London, who were also addressed by his opponent. Mr Clarke said the Tories needed to "adopt a more moderate position and tone in politics and emphasise the Conservative principles of tolerance and fairness. Recent events should encourage us to look at the procedures for keeping racists and extremists out of our party."

Both candidates agreed the eight-week leadership campaign was too arduous and whoever won would change the selection process.

In a further blow to his campaign, Mr Duncan Smith was forced to deny that he had knowingly addressed an audience that included Italian neo-Fascists. He said he had not realised that youth members of the far-right Alleanza Nazionale were at a meeting in London last March, which he had been asked to address by Conservative Central Office.