EXCL Brexit Party urged to drop election candidate over involvement with Luftwaffe-themed band
The Brexit Party has been urged to dump one of its election candidates over his "abhorrent" involvement with a Luftwaffe-themed band.
Graham Cushway is standing for the anti-EU party in Brighton Kemptown on 12 December.
But he has been criticised for being a member of the heavy metal band ‘Stuka Squadron’.
Named after the infamous World War Two fighter plane, the band perform as "vampire Luftwaffe pilots" dressed in leather trenchcoats and wearing caps used by the German airforce unit.
The group describes their fantasy persona as a "band of vampire warriors who have fought through the ages on innumerable battlefields".
Dr Cushway, who has also stood for Ukip in the past, and is an ex-Army reservist, was one of 500 Brexit Party candidates who attended a general election launch event with party leader Nigel Farage in London last week.
In one promotional shot for the group, Dr Cushway appears on stage wearing false vampire fangs and a tie with a skull and cross bones emblem similar to that used by the Nazi paramilitary group, the SS.
However, the group insist that "no band member has ever been affiliated to any extreme right or left wing movement, has or had any interest in or sympathy for extreme politics."
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the Labour candidate in Brighton Kemptown, said: “It is pretty abhorrent to appear in a Luftwaffe heavy metal tribute band and to dress up as a Nazi.
“Graham says to me that it was a parody but I don't find it funny and I don't think voters will either.
"Yet again the Brexit Party selects someone with a dodgy past and he now should be considering his position."
But Dr Cushway rejected his rival’s criticism.
He said: “It is entirely true that I performed in the art-house heavy metal band Stuka Squadron, which involved a complex back-story in which we were vampires who were also luftwaffe pilots.
“I am disappointed that Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP has decided to take this position. As he is entirely aware, the band was entirely satirical in nature.
“I can only conclude that his attempt to twist what was essentially comedic performance art into some sort of serious message reflects his desperation at being faced by a candidate genuinely representing the millions of Leave voters betrayed by the Labour Party and by Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP himself.
“The band's message was fully understood at all times by our audience to consist of satire or references to the genre.
“It should also be understood that we spoke in a heavy metal lexicon, the meaning of which is not always apparent to those outside of the genre.
“The insignia shown on the tie for instance was intended as a reference to the band Slayer and was, perhaps naively, not intended to have any further significance.
“The band had and has no links to any extreme right or left wing movements and no political agenda of any kind.”