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Former editor in 'rivers of blood' row steps down as election candidate

A former Birmingham Post editor, who had his eyes set on Westminster, has quit his bid to become an MP after a race row following a column he wrote for the Wolverhampton Express & Star.

Nigel Hastilow resigned as candidate for the marginal seat of Halesowen and Rowley Regis on Sunday night after backing former Wolverhampton MP Enoch Powell’s 1968 “rivers of blood” speech on immigration.

The row blew up after Nigel wrote that Enoch Powell had been correct in saying that uncontrolled immigration would change society.

He wrote: “When you ask most people in the Black Country what the single biggest problem facing the country is, most say immigration. Many insist: ‘Enoch Powell was right’.”

“But his speech was political suicide. Enoch’s successors in Parliament are desperate to avoid ever mentioning the issue.

“It’s too controversial and far too dangerous. Nobody wants to be labelled a racist. Immigration is the issue that dare not speak its name in public.”

Powell himself was removed from the Conservative front bench after his controversial speech.

Nigel spent much of his working life at the Post and Mail.

He held the editor’s seat between 1993 and 1999, and stood for the Conservatives in the 2001 General Election.

He began his career in journalism as a trainee at the Solihull News, before a move to the Evening Mail, where he covered crime, then education and social services.

He had a spell in the marketing department before moving to Westminster as political correspondent for the Birmingham Post for three years. He returned to Birmingham as deputy editor.

You can read his article here.