Canvey Island Football Club claims the far-right British National Party is using the club to boost its chances of winning a by-election. The BNP is one of four parties challenging for the vacant Canvey East town council seat in tomorrow’s by-election.
Gulls officials are furious about a BNP election leaflet, which shows the party’s candidate, John Morgan, standing by the St George’s flag, painted on the gates of the club’s Park Road ground.
In December, players gave their support to the football industry’s anti-racism campaign, One Game One, Community and the club has stressed it does not want to be associated with the party.
Gulls publicity officer Glenn Eckett said: “The leaflet makes it look like we support the BNP, which we certainly do not. It didn’t ask if it could take the photo. Had it asked permission we would have said no. The BNP has extreme views which we don’t support. We want to highlight the fact we welcome people of all races and religions at Park Lane.”
The BNP has denied the leaflet suggests it has the support of the football club. Spokesman Simon Darby said: “The football club is a landmark on Canvey and the picture was just to localise the leaflet. If we had a picture taken outside a mosque, it wouldn’t mean the Islamic population supported us.”
Its candidate, Mr Morgan, 42, of Gwendalen Avenue, Canvey, won 18.5 per cent of the vote when he stood for the BNP in the Canvey North ward at the borough council elections last May. The Echo repeatedly tried to contact Mr Morgan, but he failed to get back to us before we went to press.
Also standing in the election tomorrow are:
* Colin MacLean, 37, an estate agent, of Lottem Road, Canvey – Conservative
* John Payne, 76, retired, of Komberg Crescent, Canvey - Labour
* Nicola Pontius, 62, retired, of May Avenue, Canvey – Canvey Island Independents
The polling station, at Leigh Beck Junior School, in Point Road, Canvey will be open from 7am until 10pm.