A UKIP MEP is embroiled in a row after advising prospective party candidates to emulate the speaking style of Hitler.

Bill Etheridge is said to have described the Nazi dictator as a "magnetic and forceful" performer who "achieved a great deal".

The remarks were made as the West Midlands MEP delivered a seminar at the Young Independence Conference in Birmingham.

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Reports yesterday suggested Mr Etheridge told the class: "When Hitler gave speeches, and many of the famous ones were at rallies, at the start he walks, back and forth, looked at people - there was a silence, he waited minutes just looking out at people, fixing them with his gaze.

"They were looking back and he would do it for a while. And then they were so desperate for him to start, when he started speaking they were hanging on his every word."

He added: "I'm not saying direct copy - pick up little moments."

A Ukip spokesman said: "Bill Etheridge gave a ­seminar on public speaking and highlighted great ­speakers of the past, like Churchill, Blair, Martin Luther King and Hitler as people whose style, not content could be studied."

He also criticised the coverage by the newspaper which reported the story.