Updated: Thursday, 19th September 2019 @ 4:44pm

Anger at far-right party’s 'Remember Lee Rigby' slogan prompts resignation calls for Electoral Commission chair

Anger at far-right party’s 'Remember Lee Rigby' slogan prompts resignation calls for Electoral Commission chair

| By Liam Geraghty

The chairwoman of the Electoral Commission is facing calls to resign after allowing a far-right extremist group to use tragic Middleton soldier Lee Rigby in a slogan.

Britain First, who describe themselves as a ‘patriotic political party and street defence organisation’, are set to use the motto ‘Remember Lee Rigby’ on ballot papers in Wales in the May 22 European elections.

The elections fall on the first anniversary of the drummer’s brutal murder.

The Commission chair Jenny Watson has come under increasing pressure after signing off the slogan for use in the UK – although the party is only believed to be fielding for candidates in Wales.

Ms Watson, who has issued an embarrassing apology and launched an internal investigation, said: "We are deeply sorry for the offence that has been caused and I have apologised to Lee Rigby's family.

"We are particularly sorry at the pain that this will cause them, particularly since polling day falls on the first anniversary of Drummer Rigby's murder.

"The party description 'Remember Lee Rigby' that was registered for use at the European Elections in May by 'Britain First' should never have been permitted.

"We are sorry that the decision we made means that voters in Wales will now see the description on the ballot paper when they vote.

"We have looked carefully at what can be done to stop this from happening and we greatly regret that we have not found a way for the ballot papers to be changed. We will ensure the description is removed from the register for future elections."

Geraint Davies MP and Simon Thomas AM are leading the calls for Watson's resignation after Cabinet Office Minister Greg Clark urged House of Commons Speaker John Bercow to also launch an investigation "such a mistake ever happening again".

Tunbridge Wells MP Clark called the error ‘sickening’ and added: “The whole country will be outraged that the memory of Lee Rigby should be abused in this way, and our heart goes out to his family, friends and colleagues.”

Rigby was killed when he was attacked outside his Woolwich barracks in south-east London by Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, who were sentenced to a whole-life term and a minimum of 45 years in jail respectively in February for the murder.

Adebolajo has since launched an appeal against the sentence passed at the Old Bailey trail.