9 April 2008

Election news: BNP dirty tricks at York University - Welsh BNP man "shocked to be told he was a candidate"

Police probe right-wing leaflet drop

A member of the far-right British National Party (BNP) allegedly infiltrated the University of York mail system to deliver "offensive" material. Numerous members of university staff received leaflets issued by a BNP worker, which included strong attacks on Muslims.

One university staff member said the man distributing the leaflets had posed as a university employee to access the post room.

Tony Bamber, who produced and jointly distributed the leaflets, denied impersonating anyone, but confirmed he had visited the postal room "like I was from any postal company delivering post".

A university spokesman said: "We deplore the underhand use of the university's internal mail system, whose working practices have now been changed to guard against any repetition. Many staff found this material offensive, and we have forwarded copies of the various letters to North Yorkshire Police."

Mr Bamber, of Lancashire, distributed at least two different leaflets, one of which has been forwarded to The Press.

It accuses Britain's political leaders of failing to defend Britain's economy, culture and land, and says they have failed the nation by allowing Muslims to create "large and hostile colonies". It says the political elite should "destroy themselves".

Mr Bamber said York was targeted because of comments by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, on the slave trade last year.

A spokesman for the archbishop said the issue was not worthy of comment.

The university spokesman said the university's guiding principles included freedom of speech, but also tolerance and respect for diversity.

Sam Bayley, societies and communications officer for York University Students Union, said he was not aware of students being targeted recently, but said most were currently away on Easter holidays.

He added: "The union does not want the BNP targeting our students, because it makes a lot of our students uncomfortable on campus. The BNP goes against a lot of aims we have and certainly against some of our equal opportunities policies."

He said the union had passed a motion condemning the BNP, and added: "Our students do not want to see them on campus, and we will do what we can to support them in that."

A North Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: "We are aware of the allegations and we have commenced an investigation, which is currently in its very early stages, and inquiries are ongoing."

A second leaflet, not yet seen by The Press, blames Muslims for the heroin trade in Britain. The leaflets are attributed to the Preston Pals, a group set up by Mr Bamber.

He told The Press the indigenous people of the British Isles had been "betrayed" and said the group modelled itself on a "Ghandian" approach.

In the leaflets, he said: "I personally went to the post room and handed them in like I was from any postal company delivering post, instead of using the Post Office and spending money on stampage. We certainly did not impersonate anybody."

BNP spokesman Simon Darby said Mr Bamber's leaflets were stronger than they would have issued, but said: "It's not something we would put out directly but what does he say that's not true? It's the blunt truth. If he had told lies I would have disassociated ourselves and the party from it."

York Press

BNP take two council seats unopposed in Conwy

TWO British National Party candidates will be elected unopposed to a North Wales town council on May 1. Election officials in Conwy this week released documents showing the BNP is fielding a host of candidates in the town/community council elections.

In the elections for Bay of Colwyn Town Council, BNP candidate Paul Harley, of Penrhyn Bay, is unopposed in the Dinarth Ward in Rhos-on-Sea. There are three vacancies and only three candidates.

In nearby Rhos Ward, BNP candidate John Oddy, of Rhos-on-Sea, is among four candidates who will fill most of the five vacancies. But a third BNP candidate due to stand in Kinmel Bay Ward said he felt misled into standing and last night vowed to withdraw.

Neil Hughes, 19, is a BNP member, and would be one of eight candidates to fill eight vacancies in Kinmel Bay Ward for Towyn and Kinmel Bay Town Council on May 1.

But he said last night a BNP man had visited his home three weeks ago and made him sign election papers several times. Mr Hughes said the BNP man said he could become a “paper candidate” and “resign on May 1.”

But joinery student Mr Hughes was shocked to be told he was a candidate by the Daily Post.

Mr Hughes, a student at Coleg Llandrillo Cymru in Rhos-on-Sea, said: “I’m shocked. A BNP man came to our house three weeks ago and asked me to sign papers. I thought I was supporting someone else to stand. I don’t want to stand. I’m annoyed about this.”

Asked for his views on immigration, Mr Hughes, of Maesgwyn, Kinmel Bay, said: “I don’t want to say anything. I’m a bit confused.”

Meanwhile, the two bona fide, unopposed BNP candidates could be joined by fellow BNP hopefuls in other seats on May 1. There are seven other BNP candidates standing for town council elections in Conwy, and nine BNP candidates in Conwy County Council elections on May 1.

One is Neil Hughes who is set to withdraw from this contest too.

BNP North West Wales regional organiser John Oddy, 51, of Rhos-on-Sea, said: “There was certainly no intention to mislead Neil. He was intended as a paper candidate, there to take votes from the main parties but it was not our intention he would win the seat and we were not going to leaflet for him. It was just a case of having a BNP member on the list.

“As it turned out and to our surprise he was elected unopposed. This may have led to the misunderstanding. We will now withdraw him as a candidate on Wednesday.”

Last night Clwyd West MP David Jones said: “The BNP are a racialist and pretty odious party. I don’t think those seeking election will be successful here. North Wales is not the sort of territory that would welcome the BNP.”

Mr Oddy denied being racist.

North Wales Daily Post

No comments: