BNP Plans Poll Push; Party Accused of Racist Policies to Field 20 Candidates in Mersey Council Elections
Byline: BY SAM LISTER Daily Post Staff
FAR-RIGHT party the BNP launched its biggest election assault on Merseyside yesterday, fielding 20 candidates for the May vote.
In Liverpool, they have submitted nine nominations - eight more than last year - including one in Norris Green, where they came in second in 2006.
In Sefton, five BNP candidates are standing, while Knowsley has two and St Helens four. None is being put up in Wirral.
Anti-racism campaigners last night branded the party "modernday fascists" and urged people to vote against them on May 3. Alec McFadden said: "Even in Mosley's era, there weren't as many candidates as this.
"The views they are peddling are sickening and we are doing everything we can to stop them. In the run-up to Capital of Culture, it is a real slap in the face to the city that so many candidates have been put forward for this party."
The BNP yesterday set out its pledges for the region if it was elected, which included stopping schools serving Halal meat and preventing mosques from being built. Its spokesman also explained the party believed Chinese people were "OK because they are hard-working" and "were not in the nefarious activities some ethnic groups are".
Mr McFadden said "What is frightening is that they must have had 108 people backing them to get to this stage, as each nomination needs 12 signatures.
"The BNP has been targeting areas of deprivation and poverty across the city, picking places with problems and a lack of resources.
"We are urging candidates for parties that know they have got no hope of winning a seat to withdraw to ensure that they don't split the vote in wards where the BNP is standing.
"We have also got 35,000 leaflets to send out to across the city informing people about the BNP.
"I would urge everyone to make sure they are registered to vote and to get out there on polling day."
Cllr Steve Radford, Liberal group leader, said: "The BNP would have me gassed on three counts - I'm gay, I'm a Liberal and I'm a Methodist.
"But I would defend to the hilt their right to stand for election in a democracy and I look forward to beating them at the ballot boxes."
The BNP has only fielded one Liverpool candidate in the past two local elections, both times in Norris Green.
John Edgar won 417 votes, more than the third and fourth parties, the Lib-Dems and the Greens, combined. Seven other candidates will stand against him next month.
Dr Phil Edwards said: "It is the largest number of candidates we have fielded in the region. We are growing in popularity.
"We are a party of nationalism and support the cultural identity of Britain. The Chinese are OK because they are a very small percentage of the community, and are hard-working.
"They don't seem to be involved in the drug running and other nefarious activities that some ethnic groups are.
"It's a questions of numbers. Our council candidates would serve all legal members of the community, whatever their colour.
"But we would use our position in the council chamber to bring about change gradually.
"Things like Halal meat being served in schools, we would stop it. White parents don't like it. It is cruel to animals and we are a nation of animal lovers.
"We also don't want homosexuality being taught in our schools."
In Liverpool, Labour are standing in each of the 30 wards but the ruling Liberal Democrats have only fielded 29 candidates.
Labour have accused them of entering into a pact with the Liberal Party. …