Nick Griffin MEP reveals intention to swap Brussels for Oldham East - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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Nick Griffin MEP reveals intention to swap Brussels for Oldham East

Friday, 3 December 2010
Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party and MEP for the North West, has said via Twitter that he is to stand as a candidate in the forthcoming by-election in the north-west constituency of Oldham East and Saddleworth.

Labour candidate Phil Woolas won the seat back in May’s General Election but has since seen his victory declared void after high court judges ruled that he “knowingly made false statements about the Liberal Democrat candidate Elwyn Watkins in his campaign literature”, therefore breaching Section 106 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Mr Woolas vowed to appeal the decision, and today saw his appeal dismissed prompting Mr Griffin to declare his candidacy. "It is the end of the road - I am out", the former Labour immigration minister later admitted.

Predictably immigration is likely to figure highly in the forthcoming campaigns, and Mr Griffin, whose party has a well-known racist history, standing as a candidate certainly does not spell good news.

The Oldham area of Greater Manchester has had its share of racial tension with violence infamously erupting in May 2001 after a gang of white men threw a brick through the window of an Asian household in the Glodwick area of the constituency, home to a particularly large Pakistani community. Just a few days later, the home the Asian Deputy Mayor of Oldham, was fire bombed.

The 102-page Ritchie Report (pdf), produced in light of the disturbances, claimed Oldham authorities had failed to address racial divisions in the town, which were then exploited by extremists, placing notable blame on Mr Griffin’s party.

The BNP has exacerbated problems and undoubtedly by distribution of crude leaflets and other activity done much to stir up tensions," it reads (3.17).

The date of the by-election has yet to be announced, but considering Mr Griffin’s record you can expect to be hearing a lot more about it in the news…

Update (14/12/10): Mr Griffin has today confirmed he is to stand in the Oldham East and Saddleworth. Fellow MEP for the North West, Paul Nuttall, is also standing as the token UKIP candidate.

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