The British National Party has announced it will field candidates for the May mayoral elections in Lewisham and Hackney, sparking outrage from anti-racist and anti-fascist organisations.
Candidate details have not yet been released but Bob Bailey, the party’s London organiser, said it will do everything necessary to get them on the ballot paper. “It’s time the BNP stood in these elections but we do need money to make sure it happens.”
The party hopes to win votes by following a low-tax agenda. “Councils today invade all aspects of people’s lives and it is necessary to remove all unnecessary welfare costs and stop councils from behaving like a nanny,” Mr Bailey said.
Due to its controversial policies, the BNP is accused of being a racist and fascist organisation. It calls for an end to immigration and the “repatriation” of immigrants already living in the UK. Non-whites cannot be considered British, it claims.
A spokesperson from Unite Against Fascism told EastLondonlines: “Hackney, Lewisham and Newham are proud, multi-cultural and multi-racial London boroughs. They are a living testament to everything the BNP would like to destroy. We have no doubt that if the BNP stands in the elections in these boroughs they will be humiliated at the polls.”
Lewisham has a history of opposing the far-right. In 1977, during what became known as ‘The Battle of Lewisham,’ the National Front, forerunner of the BNP, attempted to march through Lewisham but was overwhelmed and stopped by 10,000 anti-racist demonstrators.
Last week, the BNP was warned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to either scrap its “all white” membership criteria or face legal action under equality laws.