Hazel Blears in cross-party moves against BNP

By Bernard Josephs, April 29, 2009

A Cabinet minister is shortly to hold talks with her Conservative opposite number to discuss how mainstream parties should combat the threat posed by the far right at next month’s European elections.

Communities Secretary Hazel Blears will be discussing with her Conservative counterpart Caroline Spelman growing fears that the British National Party are on course to win at least one seat. The European elections will be held on June 4.

She revealed details of the meeting at a rally by the Jewish Labour Movement, aimed at mobilising efforts to halt the BNP’s political bandwagon.

Speaking to the JC, Ms Blears echoed the Board of Deputies campaign urging voters to cast their ballots at the polls on June 4, warning that a low turnout was likely to see the far-right party win at least one seat in Brussels.

She described the BNP as “wicked, malicious and poisonous”, but added that it was not enough to combat them by “just accusing them of being Nazis”.

The party had changed its tactics, presenting itself as “respectable”, and it was cashing in on discontent over the economic recession.

“If the BNP gets one seat it will receive funding of £250,000 and you can stir up a lot of hatred with a quarter of a million pounds,” she said.

Also addressing the London meeting were Labour MPs Louise Ellman, chair of the JLM; Frank Dobson; and Jon Cruddas. They were joined by Nick Lowles, editor of the anti-racist magazine Searchlight.

Last updated: 3:00pm, April 30 2009