A BNP election candidate who attended the burning of a golliwog last night branded it “out of order”.

Richard Hamilton said he did not instigate the burning of the effigy at a British National Party festival, featured in Sunday’s News of the World.

Ex-army Mr Hamilton, from Flackwell Heath, was among those at the Derbyshire “ceremony” that was branded “unacceptable” by national BNP chiefs.

He stood for the Marlow seat for the BNP at June’s Buckinghamshire County Council election and got 163 votes, 1.5 per cent of ballots cast.

An anti-BNP campaigner today said the burning, over the weekend of August 15/16, showed the “true face” of the party.

But in a statement Mr Hamilton he said: “I didn't instigate this, I just passed one of the many campfires.

“I did think it was out of order but it had started in a light hearted way. “I understand that it will have caused offence. "I also wasn't very happy with some of the comments made.”

A video placed on the News of the World’s website features those around the campfire making racist comments.

Buckinghamshire BNP spokesman Matthew Tait said Mr Hamilton was not a member of the county branch and his membership has been suspended.

Calling him a “wonderful family man” he said: “It is unfortunate and not something we want to be associated with. It makes us look ridiculous and really bad.”

He added: “He is a really nice guy, he wouldn’t mean anything malicious to anyone, he wouldn’t say boo to a goose. He has been roped into it.”

National party spokesman John Walker said the party “distances itself completely from the unacceptable behaviour” of Hamilton and another man featured in the story.

He said: “The whole matter has now been referred to the party’s hierarchy for further action and potential disciplinary steps.”

But Gerry Gable, spokesman for Stop the BNP, said: “It is appalling and the true face of the BNP.”

“Anyone who frowns on this is in a small minority. There is nothing light-hearted about it.

“Why didn’t he say ‘this makes the party look bad, why don’t we stop it?’”