Minister warns of Euro-poll hate

A government minister has warned that a lasting legacy of racial hatred could result from campaigning by far-right candidates in next month’s European elections.

Communities Minister Sadiq Khan said that the effect of literature produced by far-right parties, including the British National Party, could continue after the elections on June 4.

“The Jewish community will need to keep a very close eye on literature that could be antisemitic because it will be written in a very clever and cunning way,” said Mr Khan.

“The far-right understands how our race and religious hatred laws work and they employ people to tell them what they can and cannot write. Not only have they started to wear suits but they have lawyers to check what they are doing.

“The literature they produce may not be in breach of the law but it is still racist in tone. We rely on the Jewish community and other ethnic communities making the authorities aware of anything that borders on criminality.”

Mr Khan said it was “crucial” that as many people as possible turned out to vote in the June 4 poll.

The minister said he was “very pleased” with a coalition between synagogues, churches and mosques in a number of cities, including Manchester and Birmingham.

“The main thing is people must vote. The more votes cast, the harder it is for the BNP candidates to be elected.”

The last day to register for voting in the European elections is May 19.

The Young Jewish Political Network has organised a day of action on Sunday and will be distributing 4,000 leaflets about the election to homes in north west London.

    Last updated: 11:22am, May 14 2009