Challenge of BNP ‘has been seen off’

Reporter: Lobby Correspondent
Date published: 05 May 2010


Oldham has beaten off the far-right extremist British National Party by addressing issues surrounding immigration, Phil Woolas has said.

The Immigration Minister said it was largely because of the riots in Oldham that Labour changed its policies on immigration and people started to talk about the issue.

Speaking on the “Daily Politics” TV show where the Oldham East and Saddleworth Labour candidate was pitched against his immigration counterparts from other parties, he said: “In Oldham we have beaten the BNP, we have addressed the issues people wanted.”

Talking about BNP leader Nick Griffin being elected as an MEP for the North-West in last year‚s European elections Mr Woolas added: “It was shameful for our region, it was people not coming out to vote.”

Mr Woolas said there was a feeling that people could not speak about immigration because it was tied to race. He said that under Gordon Brown it has been openly discussed.

Tory shadow immigration minister Damien Green refused to explain what Conservative plans for a cap would mean exactly and instead said the party would hold a consultation process.

Mr Woolas said the Lib-Dems policy which would allow illegal immigrants who have been in Britain for 10 years to earn British citizenship was “dangerous”.

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