Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg launched a fierce attack on the British National Party today, branding it an "evil, vile, fascist organisation". He said the party was "utterly useless" in helping people with the problems they face, such as unemployment, crime and housing, as they could only peddle hatred.
The Lib Dems had been "devastatingly successful at beating the BNP back" and he highlighted Burnley Borough Council as an example, which he said was now run by his party.
In an interview with the BBC Asian Network, Mr Clegg was asked about the BNP and how to counter its support among some communities in Britain. He said: "I feel really strongly about this. The BNP is an evil, vile, fascist organisation. We, the Liberal Democrats, have been devastatingly successful at beating the BNP back. Remember a few years ago when everyone said that Burnley was going to be the first BNP town? Look now, it is now run by the Liberal Democrats."
Asked how mainstream politicians stopped people voting BNP, he said: "First, of course, you explain to them that the BNP are a vile organisation. But you say something much more powerful, which is that they are useless, utterly useless. I'll tell you why they are useless because hate, which is all the BNP peddles, doesn't create a single job, doesn't build a single affordable home, doesn't solve a single crime. If you want help for you, for yourself, for your family, for your parents, for your grandparents, for your street, for your community, the BNP is useless."
Mr Clegg said the way to counter extremism in the UK was to confront it.
"There are people in politics, in religion, who have views that I really don't like, but you have got to engage with them," he said.
And the Lib Dem leader said that his separation from his three young sons, stranded with his in-laws because of the flights ban, was affecting him. Antonio, eight, Alberto, five, and one-year-old Miguel are in Olmedo, one-and-a-half hours north of Madrid, and may have to be driven home.
"It is really starting to get at me, because they are very small and I miss them terribly," he said.