A EUROPEAN election candidate has been arrested on suspicion of “religious or racial harassment” in a Hampshire city.

Liberty GB candidate Paul Weston had been reading a Winston Churchill quote describing Islam as “militant” and “retrograde” through a megaphone outside Winchester's Guildhall on Saturday afternoon.

Daily Echo:

Standing on the steps of the Guildhall, he addressed passers-by with an excerpt from former Prime Minister Churchill's book The River War, written in 1899 while he was a British army officer in the Sudan.

Police were called after complaints from members of the public, and the 50-year-old, from Dorset, was told to disperse but failed to do so.

Daily Echo:

A spokesman for Hampshire Constabulary said: “He was further arrested on suspicion of religious or racial harassment.

“He has been bailed pending further enquiries to report back to police on May 24.”

He is one of three Liberty GB candidates standing to represent the South East as MEPs.

Daily Echo:

His party's six-point manifesto argues for a “rejection of the notion of Britain as a global no-man's land upon which any of the world's teeming millions may lay claim” and the upholding of “Christian ethics and Western civilization”.

Defending his actions, Mr Weston said: “I thought there was no point in competing with UKIP in terms of talking about the European Union, so I would talk to the people of Winchester about Islam.”

But he has been heavily criticised by fellow MEP candidates.

Liberal Democrat candidate Antony Hook described Liberty GB as holding “unpleasant and deeply Islamophobic” views.

He said: “If someone has gone out and started to espouse their hatred then I think that is absolutely disgraceful.”

They are two of 118 candidates from 15 parties taking part in the election, which will be held on May 22.