October 07, 2008

BNP could win Euro seat, warns Cruddas

The far-right BNP is exploiting the economic crisis and is close to winning seats in the European Parliament for the first time, Labour's Jon Cruddas warned today.

In his first interview since being appointed by Gordon Brown to lead Labour's campaign against the extremist fringe, he said there was a real danger of the BNP getting an MEP elected in next June's elections.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, the Dagenham MP said there was also a danger the BNP could make major gains in local elections on the back of public anxiety about the economy.

"They feed off a sense of alienation and exploit any policy vacuum," he said. "Their appeal is strongest whenever there is a sense of a scramble around limited resources. There is a real fear the credit crunch will bear down on jobs and pay, push up unemployment and intensify competition for scarce resources, and that that will create a more fertile ground for the BNP to operate in."

Mr Cruddas was so concerned about the BNP threat that he turned down a ministerial job offered to him by the Prime Minister on Saturday. His decision surprised some MPs and some have speculated that he is keeping his distance from Mr Brown in order to stand in future as a Labour leadership candidate. Asked if he could rule himself out of a leadership contest, he replied: "There was all sorts of speculation about leadership a few weeks ago but I think it has been put to bed now. The underlying theme after conference, and because of the economy, is unity. Any speculation is more unfounded than usual though no one can anticipate what will happen down the line."

Keeping his options firmly open, he added: "I think that speculation has gone away for quite a while."

Mr Cruddas also claimed the party was content with the reshuffle - including the return of Peter Mandelson. "I do not detect a great deal of hostility to Peter Mandelson coming in," he said. "He has a lot of experience and there's quite a lot of support for bringing back some of the old hands."

The weekend reshuffle was the second time he has turned down a frontbench job since coming third in last year's Labour deputy leadership contest.

Mr Cruddas has won the Prime Minister's backing for a campaign to fight back against the far-Right in areas such as his own where the BNP has made gains that culminated in Richard Barnbrook winning the first BNP seat on the London Assembly.

Mr Cruddas is this week meeting deputy leader Harriet Harman to discuss how Labour should react and is planning strategy talks with the trade unions. The regional list system introduced for the European elections give all smaller parties a bigger chance of winning seats, including the BNP.

Evening Standard


iliacus said...

But isn't "talking up" the BNP exactly the wrong approach?

Ms Hodge's warnings before the last Barking & Dagenham local elections didn't exactly see them off !!!

Cruddas should be highlighting their uselessness, not their potential.

Flakey said...

I agree Iliacus talking up the BNP is counter productive but beware i was accused of being a troll when i stated that some months ago

Flakey said...

Also I mentioned that Hodge talked them up, just like you have, only to have that used as "evidence" against me as apparently "only BNP confuse Hodge with Cruddas".

Mr Fister said...


You were accused of being a troll because you were inconsistent and incorrect.

You don't know your arse from your Hodge, either.

Flakey said...

Was I incorrect in saying the BNP shouldnt be talked up?

I admitted I was incocnsistent and apologised as I remember.

Who first warned abut the BNP, iyo, Hodge or Cruddas?

Mr Fister said...

There is a difference between warning about them and talking them up.

Hodge couldn't articulate the problem let alone understand it.

Cruddas sees the problem as Labour's obsession with the middle England vote, Hodge sees the problem as there being too many white voters in her borough.

Cruddas his hilighted their uselessness, fought against them, campaigned against them and exposed them. The reality is, all of this aside, the BNP is still polling very well and the evidence does suggest that they will win Euro seats.

These aren't huge hidden secrets and neither are they scare tacticts. This is the skin and bone reality and he is once more given a warning to the Labour movement and the government in particular, that this is a reality.

Last time you surfaced you said it was pointless to campaign against the BNP as it tells voters that they are a risk.

That seems to have been the policy of Stoke Labour Party and look what happened there.

flakey said...

Nope I didnt say dont campaign against the bnp, thats over simplifying it, I said confrontation in stoke wasnt a good idea and turning up on the day they were there for browns posthumous activity wasnt the best way to go - leaflet it a week or so after.

Anyway, thats water under the bridge, we'll leave it there unless you wish to add anything.

Regarding Euro seats for bnp - are you sure about them gaining one or some? Their votes are down across the country, as Iliacius pointed out, they could only muster 300-600depending on who you believe) for stoke and according to SF only one leaflet was put out in a Leeds by election recently an area that was strong for them not long ago.

They seem moribund and despite gathering activists nationwide for the GLA campaign still only managed to scrape a seat by the skin of their teeth and a few percentage point vote increase.

In a 'main' election like the Euros their vote may be squeezed and i personally owuld be surprised if they win a single one. But Im not advocating no campaigning against them nor complacency but tlaki of them winning is building them up

flakey said...

whoops.... I meant id be surprised if they won a single seat at the euro election, not a single vote, lol, as original post reads.

Even the bnp despite its recent decline at the polls will win one or two votes.

They will probably poll reasonably well but will fall short of actually winning, anything.