Politicians ‘left vacuum for BNP’

Jon Cruddas (2)Mainstream politicians have left a vacuum for the British National Party to get votes, a contender in Labour’s deputy leader race is due to say. Backbench MP Jon Cruddas says the acquittal of the BNP leader, Nick Griffin, on a charge of inciting racial hatred is a wake-up call.

In a speech to the Searchlight conference for Labour and union activists, he will say: “Some communities have been badly affected by a decline in traditional industries, a shortage of affordable housing and changing migration patterns.”

He will also say: “We have to be honest in saying the debate over the veil, talking tough on immigration and race or the language used in the ‘war on terror’ does not reassure people but actually makes the situation worse. It creates fear, tension and suspicion. It divides communities and plays into the hands of extremism.”

BBC News, 11 November 2006