Claims by BNP leader Nick Griffin that the UK winter will cause as many deaths as the Haiti earthquake have been condemned by the leader of Labour MEPs
Glenis Willmott said fellow MEP Mr Griffin was trying to "stir up racial hatred" in his comments, made on social media websites on Thursday. She said: "How can anyone not look at those horrific pictures from Haiti and not feel compassion?"
In response Mr Griffin described UK aid to Haiti as "stinking elite hypocrisy". Mr Griffin's original postings, on Facebook and Twitter, said: "While the Haiti earthquake is terrible, the winter death toll in Britain will be similar. No aid here though."
About 45,000-50,000 people have died since Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince and 300,000 have been made homeless, according to UN estimates. The Pan American Health Organization has estimated that the death toll could be as high as 100,000.
Ms Willmott, Labour MEP for the East Midlands, said: "Yes, people will die here this winter, even though the Labour government set up a welfare state that spends billions to help prevent too many deaths."
She added: "Our government and local councils are quite rightly funded to do all they can to help everyone suffering from the cold. But I am also proud that our government will do all it can to help the people in Haiti and I totally support all the work done by the charities to get supplies out there as soon as possible."
Mr Griffin, MEP for North West England, responded with another Twitter post, saying: "Individuals should give whatever they feel appropriate, but Britain is bankrupt. Fifty thousands pensioners will die...of cold this winter. Boys get blown to bits because we can't afford to armour their Land Rovers.... Sending aid to rioting ingrates while our own people die is stinking elite hypocrisy."
Asked about Mr Griffin's comments, BNP deputy leader Simon Darby criticised the government's £6m contribution to the aid effort in Haiti. He said: "I'd rather see that £6m that we spent keeping our own people alive. You look after your own first. If they've got surplus money to give away to Haiti - how many people have died because we didn't have the infrastructure to grit the roads?"
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