Parties condemn NF leaflet-drop

Date published: 07 June 2011

THE leaders of Oldham’s three main political parties have joined forces to condemn an extremist group which plans to target Oldham communities.

Right-wing party, the National Front, launched a recruitment drive on Sunday with a 700-leaflet drop in and around the Limeside area.

But Labour’s council leader Jim McMahon, along with Lib-Dem group leader Howard Sykes and Conservative frontman Jack Hulme have said there is no place for extremism in Oldham.

Councillor McMahon said: “Having no far-right candidates in this year’s elections was a milestone. We managed to convince the voters that the far right do not represent people in the community.

“Every year the three main parties have said there is no place for extremist views in Oldham. We’re a town made up of different backgrounds including myself as someone from Irish descent.”

Councillor Sykes said the group were “mischief-making” and said: “These people have no future in our town and our borough.”

Councillor Hulme said the right-wing group were jumping on the bandwagon of the 10-year anniversary of the riots.

He said: “There is no place for the National Front or British National Party in Oldham.

“We’ve got to be steadfast, we’ve made advances over the last 10 years and we stand by that record.”

Kevin Bryan, NF deputy chairman, said they planned to target Limeside, Fitton Hill and Chadderton residents over the next few months and would stand candidates in the 2012 local elections.

Mr Bryan, from Bacup, said: “Sunday’s leaflet drop was the first of many activities planned in Oldham. Nearly all our support has come from BNP voters who have become fed-up with them over the years. We focused on Limeside because that’s where we’ve got a lot of support.”

However, one Limeside resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I received one of their leaflets but I didn’t really read it. We’ve had them before because Limeside is a predominantly white area and an easy target. The 10-year anniversary of the riots has brought the issue back under the spotlight. But no-one is talking about their leaflets.”

The news comes as the Government today prepares to release details of an updated version of the Prevent counter-extremist strategy originally launched in 2007 to stop the growth of home-grown terrorism.

Home Secretary Theresa May has criticised universities for their “complacency” in tackling radicalisation and Islamic extremism on campus and is expected to name the 25 boroughs most at risk.

Mrs May said: “I don’t think they have been sufficiently willing to recognise what can be happening on their campuses and the radicalisation that can take place. I think there is more that universities can do.”