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  1. Rachel Bullock

Full Report: North East UKIP in Stephen Lawrence row

The secretary of the Redcar UKIP branch faces being expelled from the party after she posted derogatory remarks about the media coverage of the racist murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Pamela Preedy wrote in a UKIP online forum last year that the image of the murdered teenager has been "promoted to sainthood".

The party's North East chairman has launched a full investigation into the comments which he says entirely contradict UKIP's policies.

Rachel Bullock reports.

Regional UKIP chairman condemns Stephen Lawrence remarks

Richard Elvin, the regional chairman of the UK Independence Party says a branch secretary may be stripped of her party membership after she made derogatory remarks about the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Pamela Preedy is secretary of UKIP's Redcar and Cleveland branch. Last year on an online UKIP forum she said: "the image of Stephen Lawrence has been promoted to sainthood " She also accused David Cameron of "worshipping at the shrine of Saint Stephen".

Mr Elvin told ITV Ms Preedy's views absolutely contradict UKIP's policies, he condemns them and has apologised to the Lawrence family.

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Redcar UKIP Secretary in Stephen Lawrence row

Stephen Lawrence who was murdered in 1993 Credit: PA

Redcar and Cleveland's UKIP secretary Pamela Preedy is caught up in a racism row over remarks about Stephen Lawrence. Mr Lawrence was murdered in 1993 and his family have fought for justice ever since.

A conversation on a UK Independence Party internal forum around the 20th anniversary of Stephen Lawrence's murder last year, which Pamela Preedy took part in, has been uncovered.

PAMELA PREEDY SAID:

"It is absolutely true that the image of Stephen Lawrence has been promoted to sainthood."

"In Monday's news, there was Cameron and other high politicos worshipping at the shrine of Saint Stephen as they stood before his picture for a minute's silence."

"His death is supposed to have changed Britain, revealing how we are all institutionally racist etc. Please give it a rest! I'm sure that Stephen was an ordinary boy with all the typical virtues and flaws of any teenage human being, not a saint in the making."

"I'm sure that his mother still grieves for him, but it's time she did it privately without setting him up as some kind of media icon. She risks losing any sympathy for her cause (getting the other three killers in jail presumably) and boring us all to tears."

"Poor Stephen; he didn't deserve his awful death and he doesn't deserve his name being endlessly touted around like this either."

Tory councillor defects to UKIP

Councillor Mark Chatburn, who represents Yarm and Kirklevington on Stockton Council, has defected from the Conservatives to join UKIP.

It is difficult to think of a single area where this government has proven itself a success. We see ever rising living costs, with inflation outstripping pay rises in nearly every single month since David Cameron came to power. In addition, employment remains stubbornly high in the North East, with this government appearing to have neither the ideas nor the inclination to tackle this.

– Cllr Mark Chatburn

South Shields Independent councillors join UKIP

Three former Independent councillors on South Tyneside Council have joined UKIP.

The party's deputy leader Paul Nutall welcomed the new members with a speech on the steps of South Shields Town Hall.

UKIP now becomes the official opposition to Labour on the council following a recent by-election where it came second overall with almost 25% of the vote.

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Police investigate UKIP postal vote fraud allegation

It has emerged that police are investigating an allegation of postal vote fraud by UKIP

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said officers are investigating a report of alleged electoral fraud in the Cowpen area of Blyth, Northumberland.

Detective Inspector David Brown said: "We can confirm that we have received a complaint of possible postal vote fraud in the Cowpen.

"We are in the early stages of the investigation and enquiries are ongoing."