A CANDIDATE for the British National Party in today's elections has appeared in court this week for assault, it has emerged.

Your Worcester News can reveal how Ashley Bradley, who is trying to get elected to Worcester City Council, pleaded guilty to assault by beating on Tuesday following an incident outside McDonald's at The Cross.

The 42-year-old's appearance before magistrates will be another embarrassment to the far-right party, which is standing a record eight candidates in Worcester today.

Mr Bradley, of Chedworth Drive, got into an incident with a man outside McDonald's back on Friday, November 22 last year.

The victim told police he got punched in the back of the head during the altercation, leading to charges being pressed.

After his guilty plea, magistrates decided to give him a conditional discharge for 12 months and order him to pay £85 court costs as well as a £15 victim surcharge.

Mr Bradley is standing in the Gorse Hill ward for the BNP today after being put forward by the Worcester branch.

The city's BNP organiser Carl Mason and Mr Bradley were not available for comment yesterday but its national HQ sought to defend him.

Spokesman Simon Darby said: "I'd much rather have a candidate that was charged with assault by beating and got a conditional discharge than be part of a party which went to war in Iraq, leading to the deaths of millions of innocent women and children.

"I don't know the circumstances around this so I can't comment on it, but you can be done for almost anything these days."

Labour Councillor Geoff Williams, deputy leader of the city council, said: "I will leave it to the people of Gorse Hill to decide whether the BNP candidate is someone they wish to represent them."

As well as Cllr Williams, the other candidates standing in Gorse Hill are Conservative Simon Harrison, UKIP's John Francis and Justin Kirby for the Green Party.

Under election rules, people are barred from standing to become a councillor if they have been sentenced to three months in prison, including a suspended sentence, in the five years prior to the count.

The court's decision means Mr Bradley is free to try and get elected today.