A former neo-Nazi who once daubed buildings with swastikas has been elected as a local councillor.
Margaret Burke won a seat on Milton Keynes Council earlier this month after demonstrating her remorse to local Labour Party officials and describing her earlier activities as those of a “brainwashed idiot”.
During the 1980s, Mrs Burke ran a pro-Hitler organisation with her husband. She wore Nazi-style uniforms and organised racist leafleting.
After the couple divorced, Mrs Burke joined the Animal Liberation Front and was jailed for vandalising a butcher’s shop.
She told the Milton Keynes Citizen that she regretted her actions and had dedicated herself to working for the community to make amends.
Milton Keynes Labour leader Kevin Wilson said the candidate selection panel had been aware of Mrs Burke’s past and had “questioned her at length”.
He said her post-Nazi behaviour had been “exemplary” and it would have been “wholly wrong to deny her the possibility of being a candidate”.
But her selection was criticised by the town’s first black councillor, Danny Waite, who said he could not bring himself to vote for Mrs Waite after being racially abused by her 30 years ago.
Community Security Trust communications director Mark Gardner said Mrs Burke’s racist group had been “a somewhat infamous bunch of ‘Hollywood Nazis’, who took perverse pleasure in pretending to be Nazis. She seems determined to make up for her past and that is to be welcomed”.