Battle lines drawn as Salford Labour councillor slams BNP in wake of Drummer Lee Rigby murder

By Danielle Wainwright

A Salford councillor has accused the British National Party of using the death of Manchester soldier Lee Rigby to incite violence and hatred in the city.

Cllr Howard Balkind, Labour member for Swinton South Ward, expressed his anger at an upcoming BNP meeting tomorrow night, branding the party as ‘extremists trying to split the community’.

The BNP’s meeting is ahead of the Weaste and Seedley by-election on June 20.

But Cllr Balkind insists the BNP should not be allowed to further their activism in the city to prevent clashes similar to those between BNP and Unite Against Fascism protestors last week.

“This meeting should absolutely not go ahead,” he said. “The BNP does not represent the Salford area; they are extremists who are trying to split the community.

“They are using Drummer Lee Rigby as an excuse to bring violence to our streets.

“They are not a party that has moved on from their violent ways, they share the same views as the English Defence League and use force to get their demands.

“Both groups should be banned.”

BNP Salford leader Gary Tumulty has hit back at the comments and insists that the Labour government have unfairly limited the rights of his party to a fair election.  

He said: “We have a right to discuss local matters in the run up to the by-election. This blatant restriction of democracy is that of North Korea or Cuba.

“I don’t understand why Labour are so angry, and so against us.”

Resentment for the British National Party came to a head last month, as a planned ‘meet and greet’ session with candidate Kay Pollitt was cancelled by Salford Council.

Mr Tumulty insists that he only wants what is the best for the city, and believes that residents must decide fairly who they want to vote for.

“The city deserves more,” he said. “I was proudly born and raised in Salford and when I speak to my fellow residents, they tell me they are sick of the Labour councillors lining their fat pockets with taxpayer money and huge pensions.

“The BNP can change this, but unfortunately we are not given the chance to fairly represent ourselves in the next by-election.”

However Cllr Balkind believes many BNP voters would not vote for them if they knew all the policies the party wanted to implement.

He said: “Many Salford residents don’t realise what the BNP actually stand for and so they are influenced and misled into voting for them.

“We cannot allow them to do this.”

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