March 11, 2007

BNP speak up over silence row

Angry BNP councillors have hit back at claims they are failing local people by not speaking at important meetings.

The three party members on Kirklees council came under fire for not speaking up at last week’s budget session. A senior Lib-Dem said their promises to voters had been exposed as empty. Coun Kath Pinnock, leader of the Lib Dem group, compared them to the three Green councillors who succeeded in influencing the authority’s budget.

The BNP say there is no point in them speaking because they have no sway with any other party. But one Dewsbury BNP councillor said it was a different matter outside the council chamber.

"They daren’t say anything to support us at meetings - but they do elsewhere," said Colin Auty (BNP, Dewsbury East). "They are our best friends on the outside but they fear being tainted and are scared of public reaction."

And group leader David Exley (BNP, Heckmondwike) said: "All this will change in May. Our numbers will rise to such a level they will have no choice but to include us and then we will take part in the budget-setting process."

Coun Pinnock said: "The budget meeting is the best opportunity any councillor has to speak up for local people and get changes in the way the council spends funds. But the three BNP councillors sat for six hours and none of them, not even their leader, said anything. So all the changes they say they want have been exposed as empty promises. Given the chance, they choose to say and do absolutely nothing. What is so pathetic is that they have failed on three counts. They failed to make any suggestions to change the budget; they failed to speak during the debate; and then they even failed to vote, even to abstain, on any of the five proposals put to the meeting.

"They can’t claim it is because there are only three BNP councillors. The three Green councillors proposed, and succeeded in making, major changes to the budget. What is the point of the BNP if, when they have the chance, they do absolutely nothing?"

Coun Auty said: "It makes no difference what we say or do. The Greens sway with the Lib Dems but no party is going to stand with us on any issue. We have no clout at all and that’s frustrating for us. We serve people by being on the area committee, by helping people in any way at all and by bringing things to the fore."

He also predicted major changes ahead. "It will hit them hard when we do have a voice," he said. "We hope to get seven or eight councillors in at the May elections and that will really shake things up. This will be a reality in areas such as Dewsbury, Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, Liversedge and Gomersal. You had better believe it. Come May it will be different. There will be no one with a clear majority."

Coun Exley labelled the budget meeting ’a sham.’ "Everything had been decided beforehand through deals," he said. "There was no point us saying anything. We help people on a day to day basis with a hands-on approach but we can’t take part in the bigger picture."

The Press

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