Press release: Warnings about the BNP

MP warns That Indifference to Europe Will Let BNP Win a parliamentary Seat

Denis MacShane has warned that the failure of Britain’s mainstream parties to make the case for Europe was opening the door to the arrival of a far-right MEP to enter the European Parliament next year.

Speaking in Rotherham on Saturday 13 September 2008, MacShane said:
"The BNP belongs to the antisemitic, racist right in Europe which hides its antisemitism and racism behind a mask of hostility to the European Union which it knows appeals to many voters.
"The BNP has already won a seat on the London Assembly, as it faced two candidates like Boris Johnson who called young black children "picannannies" and Ken Livingstone who compared a Jewish journalist doing his job to a Nazi and refused to apologise.
"In Rotherham we have two BNP councillors. The BNP was 32,000 votes short of winning an MEP seat in the 2004 election and since then we have a barrage of anti-foreigner propaganda in the media from mainstream politicians and the press.
"The latest is the report from Migration Watch calling for the expulsion of foreign workers after four years which would mean 300,000 Americans being booted out of Britain. There are 27,000 foreign companies providing jobs in Britain and at a major conference of 1200 Polish and Ukrainian business leaders in Poland this week, I urged them to invest in Britain and South Yorkshire.
"But efforts to get foreign investment into the UK are hampered by the xenophobic and intolerant language against foreign workers, whether it is George Osborne last year proposing a special tax on foreign workers not domiciled here or MPs and peers signing a report published last week produced by Migration Watch calling for a cap on people coming to work in the UK and their repatriation after four years which would devastate the Rotherham economy.
"I believe the Prime Minister was wrong to call for British jobs for British workers last year, which figured in BNP election literature in the recent Wickersley by-election. That election was won by Labour thanks to hard work knocking on doors and exposing BNP lies and hate.
"We want decent, fair-pay jobs for all workers in Britain and we want British workers in Europe and elsewhere in the world to have the same rights as other employees.
"There are few Jews living in Rotherham and I doubt if 1 BNP voter in 10,000 knows the deep antisemitism which the leaders of the BNP publicly support.
"But the Tory party with its endless ranting against Europe helps create an atmosphere of distrust and contempt for the EU. Why should voters support the Tory line against the EU when they go for the real thing in the BNP?
"Other European countries have to live with the Jew-hating far-right like the National Front in France. It would be sad day for Britain if a representative of an antisemitic party like the BNP won a seat in the European Parliament. Each MEP has access to allowances and expenses. These are audited for Labour MEPs and we have seen the scandal of Tory and other MEPs using this money for party political purposes.
"If a BNP MEP is elected, then hundreds of thousands of pounds will flow into their accounts to promote Jew-hate and other racist divisive policies.
"But the BNP can win if the mainstream parties can never find anything positive to say about Europe and if some mainstream politicians use the same language as the BNP about the EU and about the need for Britain to distance itself from our European partners, cut links with mainstream European political parties and even consider moving to the exit door of Europe.