BNP faces backlash over Oldham threat

Jewish and Muslim communities in the north-west are readying themselves for a new campaign against the BNP if its leader Nick Griffin stands in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.

The BNP leader hinted last Friday through the Twitter website that he might contest the seat. This came in the wake of the High Court upholding the decision to strip former Immigration Minister Phil Woolas of his seat, for lying about a rival in last May's general election campaign.

This week Manchester Jewish Representative Council president Lucille Cohen said there had been discussions with the Board of Deputies about running an anti-BNP campaign, similar to that in Barking where Mr Griffin stood against Margaret Hodge in May. Sue Gillett, North West Conservative Party director during the election, said there was speculation that Mr Griffin would be challenged by Conservative parliamentary spokesman Kashif Ali.

Mr Ali said Muslim groups in Oldham would rally against the BNP.

"I met the Jewish council just before the May elections and we discussed all of this. We stood together then because we've all got a common interest against the BNP. There is concern because Griffin stood in Oldham West and Royton in 2001, so he has some knowledge of Oldham."

Griffin gained a record BNP general election result in 2001, coming third on a wave of popularity fuelled by the Oldham riots. But Mike Luft, of Oldham United Against Racism, said the BNP has since been in serious decline.

    Last updated: 1:50pm, December 9 2010