A councillor and cabinet member has been criticised after comparing the Newport Conservatives’ manifesto with “the extreme far right”.
In a Facebook post, Jason Hughes – Labour candidate for Caerleon and Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development – said: “Even in local manifestos terms like ‘creating policies that will last 100 years’ are reminiscent of if not taken from the ideologies of the extreme far right.
“When parties say they are creating 100 year anything – be wary because it’s emotive and it’s sinister. The last time I read such language was when people talked of a 100 year Reich.”
The Newport Conservative manifesto for the 2022 election had initially promised that its pledges would provide “hope for the next 100 years” – although this was later edited to say “our plan will provide hope for the future”.
Despite apologising for his comments, Mr Hughes’s remarks have sparked outrage from two Jewish candidates, who have written to the Leader of the Newport Labour group calling for stronger action to be taken.
Siblings Jay Shwartz and Mary Shwartz are both standing for the Conservatives on Thursday, May 5.
Jay who is standing in Gaer, and his sister Mary who is standing in Beechwood, wrote to Labour’s Newport group leader Jane Mudd and said: “Considering our proud heritage, we find your candidate’s remarks about comparing our local Conservative manifesto to something out of the Third Reich as deeply hurtful and frankly sickening.”
The letter continued: “We take the Fair Campaign Pledge seriously, I hope you will join us in that by making your actions meaningful to the people of Newport, and the wider British Jewish community.”
All local parties in Newport have signed the Welsh Local Government Association’s pledge for fair election campaigning.
Leader of the Newport Conservatives, Matthew Evans, said: “Throughout the campaign we have concentrated on local issues and our local manifesto makes no reference at all to anything that could be construed as ‘Nazi’.
“I am appalled and angered that a senior Labour Councillor could stoop so low.”
A spokesperson for Welsh Labour said Jason Hughes has apologised for the comments made and removed the post from Facebook.