A leading candidate for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party has responded to criticism by the father of a schoolboy murdered by the IRA over her “absolutely disgraceful” views about the terror group published days after the Warrington bombing which killed his son.
Claire Fox, now a Euro elections candidate, was a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), a party that defended the Warrington bombing on March 20, 1993.
Ms Fox said on Tuesday she had “genuine feeling” for all involved in the Troubles.
She was a leading member of the far-left party which published a newsletter in April 1993, days after the bombing, defending “the right of the Irish people to take whatever measures necessary in their struggle for freedom”.
Ms Fox is the number one candidate in the North West of England for the Brexit Party, and if the polls are correct, likely to become Warrington’s MEP.
Tim Parry, 12, and Johnathan Ball, aged three, were killed in the bombing which left 56 injured.
Tim died in his father Colin’s arms five days later in Liverpool’s Walton Hospital.
Mr Parry OBE, said Claire Fox should explain her “comments” – referring to the viewpoint published by her party, the RCP at the time.
He said: “What she said at that time is highly inappropriate.
“For somebody to come out with comments I believe she made, and being an apologist for the IRA is absolutely disgraceful.
“If this woman would care to explain her comments back at that time to me and my wife, I would like her to do so.
“She should disavow these comments if that’s her position and say, ‘I was wrong, I was foolish.’
“I simply say I think voters in the constituency of the North West, which is a big area, really should be aware, as voters should be in general, should be aware of the political positions of candidates, even if they disavow them from a former life.”
Asked what voters would make of the matter, Mr Parry added: “I would hope they would be absolutely disgusted by these comments.”
Mr Parry and Tim’s mother, Wendy Parry, later set up the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace, which has since become an internationally recognised centre for conflict resolution and victim support.
A spokesman for the Brexit Party said Ms Fox does not deny she did hold those views in the past, but they were made more than 20 years ago and she supported a peaceful solution and the Good Friday Agreement, which brought and end to the violence.
Later Ms Fox released a statement.
She said: “I feel the greatest sympathy for the Parry family.
“The loss of their son was tragic and must have been terribly painful, as for all victims of violence during the Troubles.
“My personal politics and views are well known and I have never sought to disguise them, though on this issue they have remained unaired for many years.
“Whatever the rights and wrongs, the history of Ireland has been marked by tragedy and I acknowledge that without hesitation and with genuine feeling for all involved.
“My political views have never made me insensitive to the pain and suffering caused to the innocent victims of events such as the Warrington bomb.
“In fact, I have always been inspired by the humane conduct of Mr Parry in the way he responded with compassion and dignity to the tragic loss inflicted on his family.”
Local Warrington Councillor Dan Price said Ms Fox was “totally unfit for office”.
Councillor Price, one of Change UK’s candidates for the European elections, said: “Since Fox’s candidacy was announced and her history has surfaced, I’ve been approached by lots of people in Warrington who are furious she could soon be representing them.
“I live in Warrington, I know the Parry family and I’ve seen first-hand the work their peace foundation has done.”