Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boris Dismisses BNP Rant at London; Griffin Claims 'Ethnically Cleansed' Capital Is Not British

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boris Dismisses BNP Rant at London; Griffin Claims 'Ethnically Cleansed' Capital Is Not British

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Cecil and Joe Murphy

BORIS JOHNSON hit back at the BNP today after leader Nick Griffin sparked revulsion with a racist rant against London.

The Mayor called on millions of Londoners to unite against extremism. He spoke out after Mr Griffin, possibly stung by criticism from his supporters that he gave a poor performance on BBC1's Question Time, claimed London had been "ethnically cleansed" and was no longer British.

Mr Johnson said: "The BNP has no place here. I again urge Londoners to reject their narrow, extremist and offensive views. London is a welcoming, tolerant, cosmopolitan capital which thrives on its diversity."

As the BBC came under fire for allowing Mr Griffin to appear last night on the flagship political programme, London Minister Tessa Jowell said the far-Right leader had let his mask slip this morning with his tirade against the capital. "I am sure that Londoners will be as disgusted as I am at the BNP leader's comments," she said.

Mr Griffin criticised the Question Time audience by claiming it had acted like a "lynch mob". "That audience was taken from a city which is no longer British," Mr Griffin told Sky News.

"One hundred thousand Londoners leave London every year because they can no longer stand the 'wonderful, glorious diversity of multicultural' London ... Why not come down and do it in Thurrock, do it in Stoke, do it in Burnley, do it somewhere where there is still significant numbers of English and British people left where they have not been ethnically cleansed from their own country." The BBC was criticised for allowing the BNP leader to portray himself as a victim while Mr Griffin was threatening to make a formal complaint about the way the Question Time format was changed to focus on him.

More than eight million people watched last night's show, up to four times as many as normal, during which Mr Griffin attacked Islam as "wicked" and smeared homosexuals as "creepy". The BNP claimed that his appearance had sparked the "single biggest recruitment night" in the party's history -- with 3,000 people allegedly registering to sign up.

The BBC received scores of complaints today. …

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