A DEWSBURY councillor is challenging for the leadership of the British National Party (BNP).
Clr Colin Auty claims party chairman Nick Griffin is “out of touch”.
He is trying to organise a vote on the leadership next month.
Clr Auty, who represents Dewsbury East on Kirklees Council, believes Mr Griffin has an image problem.
He said: “Without a shadow of a doubt we have a problem because of Nick’s baggage around things like the Holocaust and saying Islam is ‘wicked’.
“When he’s out and about surrounded by big, burly bodyguards with shades on, it does us no good. We need a revamp.”
Clr Auty also believes Mr Griffin doesn’t understand BNP voters.
He said: “Nick Griffin lives in mid-Wales, where there’s no diversity. I live in Chickenley which is an area which you could term problematic because of the multi-cultural experience.
“I feel he’s out of touch with the perception of party members and the man in the street. I travel around to meetings and I hear people are discontented, especially in the North of England.”
Clr Auty is trying to organise a challenge against Mr Griffin.
He said: “I’ve got an election agent and a team working for me. We’re trying to finalise a date, it will probably be next month.”
But Clr Auty believes the party leadership are trying to stifle his bid.
He said: “I was supposed to go up to a party event in Cumbria but I was told not to go.
“I don’t think I’ve a chance of winning, I’ll be shut down. You can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be denied my freedom of speech.”
Clr Auty, who has sat on Kirklees Council since 2006, does not rule out leaving the BNP.
He said: “It’s an option if the party isn’t willing to deal with its image problem.”
But BNP deputy leader Simon Darby said Mr Griffin was doing a good job.
He said: “We wouldn’t have 100 councillors if Nick’s views on Islam were a problem.”
And Mr Darby said that the party chairman needed bodyguards in the light of the murder of Theo van Gogh, a Dutch film-maker who was critical of Islam.
He said: “Nick would walk around without security if he could but his security team insists on keeping a heavy presence. He has a wife and four kids and we’ve no intention of letting him become the next Theo van Gogh.”
Mr Darby also denied that the party leader was out of touch because he lived in mid-Wales.
He said: “Nick was born in London and lived there. It’s a pretty diverse place.”
And Mr Darby said Clr Auty was not being denied his freedom of speech. “Colin is perfectly entitled to challenge for the leadership,” he said.