A surprise appearance by British National Party leader Nick Griffin in Liverpool city centre only served to highlight the message of a meeting against antisemitism at the Liberal Democrat conference on Monday.
The fringe meeting, hosted by the Community Security Trust and the Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism (PCAA), was headlined by Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake, who is also vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on the topic. An audience of 50 delegates, many of whom were local Merseyside councillors, also heard from Burnley Liberal Democrat Gordon Birtwistle and Searchlight's Nick Lowles.
On Saturday, as most members of Liverpool's Jewish community honoured Yom Kippur, BNP leader Nick Griffin was out leafleting in the city centre with other members calling for British troops to be brought home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The unexpected visit sparked an impromptu demonstration from 100 anti-fascist demonstrators, who were separated from the BNP by a line of police.
CST's Mark Gardner said Griffin's presence only strengthened the message of the fringe event.
"The CST and PCAA are holding joint events at each of the party political conferences to ensure none of them is complacent about the BNP. People seem to think they have defeated the BNP following the election."
His presence makes our work more vital
PCAA director Danny Stone was "pleased with the way the political parties are engaging with the seriousness of the challenge and taking on the threat of all the far-right in elections."
MPs John Mann and Margaret Hodge, who took on Nick Griffin to retain her Barking seat at the general election, will be running a similar event at the Labour Party conference in Manchester next week.