A second senior figure has raised the prospect of the BNP securing seats on the London Assembly at next year’s GLA elections.
Labour Assembly Member Murad Qureshi has issued a “call to arms to London’s voters” warning that the party were just 0.1% away from winning a seat in the 2004 elections.
The comments come just days after Conservative Mayoral Candidate Boris Johnsonn Early Day Motion in the House of Comomons raising the prospect of the BNP securing two seats in May.
According to Mr Qureshi the BNP’s vote “was highest in areas where the UK Independence Party (UKIP) was also popular.” A statement issued by the AM says “with no Euro elections this time round, there are fears that as many as 20% of UKIP voters could switch to the BNP.”
A spokesman for the One London Party said: “The two seats won by UKIP (now belonging to the One London Party) were won on the back of huge media coverage of Robert Kilroy Silk and the coincidence of the Euro and GLA elections on the same day in 2004. There is little chance that any of those anti-EU votes would transfer to the BNP, unless of course Murad intends to pursue a strategy of promoting the BNP in his press releases.”
“Although our anti-EU stance lies at the core of our free-market, small government philosophy, we do not expect that it will play a significant part in the 2008 election. We will be campaigning on Crime, Transport and Council tax. Those are the issues that matter to Londoners over which the GLA has a remit.”
Praising the capital for being “probably the most tolerant, diverse city in the world” Mr Qureshi said “the only way we can continue this proud tradition and defend our city from the despicable BNP is at the ballot box in May 2008.”
When asked by MayorWatch whether such appeals played into the hands of the BNP by generating them further publicity Qureshi said: “It’s no good burying our heads in the sand and hoping no one will notice them. We have to confront their offensive views head-on and emphasise that with margins this tight every right-thinking Londoner has to turn out vote. And vote for anyone but them.”
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