Ken Livingstone has pulled out of a BBC London radio debate after the broadcaster invited BNP candidate Carlos Cortiglia on the show.
The debate is due to take place on Monday.
In a statement Labour’s Mayoral candidate says: “I have long held to the belief in no platform for the far right.
“The far right want to destroy our democracy and stand for the elimination of our basic rights. They cannot be treated as a legitimate part of politics.
“I am withdrawing from Monday’s Mayoral debate on BBC London 94.9 on the grounds that I am not prepared to share a platform with the British National Party.
Livingstone added: “We have been in negotiation about a debate with the main candidates for BBC London 94.9 – but only now have we been informed that the BNP had been invited to take part in this debate, and this has been confirmed to us today.
“I will not share a platform with the BNP and it is a point of principle to me that I never will do.”
At the declaration of the 2008 result all Mayoral candidates including Mr Livingstone and winner Boris Johnson vacated the stage as the BNP candidate started his remarks.
Earlier today Mr Cortiglia announced he would be giving Mr Livingstone his second preference vote in the Mayoral election.
Commenting on this, Livingstone said: “That the BNP candidate may have called for a second preference for me is clearly designed to disorganise progressive opinion and divide opposition to them. Not only don’t I want their second preference but I will not share a platform with them. I urge everyone to use their vote on 3 May to vote to keep the BNP out.”
UPDATE 14.44: Green party candidate Jenny Jones has also withdrawn from the debate in light of the BNP’s invitation. Jones told me “the BNP have a right to be heard but I don’t want to hear them.”
According to the BBC Conservative candidate Boris Johnson hadn’t confirmed his involvement in the debate but has also said he would “not share a stage” with the BNP.
A spokesman for Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick confirmed he was also withdrawing from the debate, adding: “We would welcome the opportunity to have a serious debate with the other Mayoral candidates about the future of London, but without the incumbent Mayor and Ken Livingstone taking part we feel this would not be possible.
Candidates for Mayor include Jenny Jones (Green party), Ken Livingstone (Labour), Lawrence Webb (UKIP) Boris Johnson (Conservative) and Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat). A full list of candidates can be found here.