BNP on Question Time: the chaos continues

By Jessica Elgot and Marcus Dysch, October 21, 2009
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Last-ditch attempts to block the appearance of BNP leader Nick Griffin on Question Time tomorrow are being launched.

The Young Jewish Political Network will launch a Twitter protest about the appearance of the BNP leader on the BBC’s flagship political programme.

The group is asking followers to twitter the message #NoToTheBNP on the social networking site.

YJPN will also be tweeting messages in the hours leading up to the programme, listing the reasons why the far-right group is not representative of Britain.

The Manchester Jewish Representative Council has written to the BBC expressing “disappointment” over the Question Time invitation.

As European Parliament member for the North West, Mr Griffin represents the Manchester Jewish community in Brussels and Strasbourg.  

Council president Barbara Goldstone said the far right party’s views were “abhorrent”.

Any public exposition of their views is abhorrent to us and to all decent-minded people.

Barbara Goldstone

In the letter she wrote: “On behalf of our community, a community of over 30,000 Jews, I wish to say how disappointed we were to learn that the BBC, a well-respected bastion of tradition, should even consider giving publicity to the BNP on Question Time.

“Any public exposition of their views is abhorrent to us and to all decent-minded people.”

Last night the BBC Trust rejected calls from Welsh Secretary Peter Hain to overrule the decision by BBC Director General Mark Thompson to allow Mr Griffin to appear on the programme.

Mr Hain had threatened possible legal action against the BBC if Mr Griffin is allowed to participate.

Mr Griffin was at the centre of a new controversy yesterday when he compared senior British military figures to Nazi was criminals, after they expressed concern that the BNP were recruiting army staff.

Mr Griffin posted on the BNP’s website: “Those Tory generals who attacked the BNP should remember at the Nuremberg trials and generals accused of waging illegal, aggressive wars were all charged - and hanged - together.”

Thousands of demonstrators are expected to descend on the BBC headquarters for the arrival of Mr Griffin, who will appear on the programme alongside Conservative peer Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, playwright Bonnie Greer and Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Chris Huhne.

Unite Against Fascism plan to bring 12 coaches of supporters.

BNP supporters, who have apparently been vetted by Question Time producers, have been allocated tickets in the audience. Ticket applicants fill in a questionnaire when they apply where they are asked their party allegiance.

The programme will have tight security, with fears over potential scuffles between BNP supporters and anti-fascism groups.

    Last updated: 10:56am, October 21 2009