'Race hate' probe over party's leaflet
A RACE investigation has been launched into a political leaflet distributed to thousands of Burnley homes by a far right group.
The leader of Burnley Council is also considering legal action against the England First party after claiming that the leaflets were 'peddling hatred'.
Burnley Police's hate crime and diversity unit began its probe after the publication was sent to homes in the Brunshaw, Gannow, Rosegrove and Cliviger areas.
Councillor Gordon Birtwistle, leader of the Liberal Democrats, who was handed a copy of the leaflet in the Rosegrove area by a shop manager, said he was taking legal advice over its contents.
The leaflets are part of Operation Blanket Burnley, which will include the party fielding Steven Smith as a candidate at the next general election, a spokesperson said.
Smith is the former leader of the Burnley branch of the British National Party (BNP).
In 2001 he was jailed after pleading guilty to six charges involving forging signatures on nomination papers.
Titled "England is being deliberately destroyed by cowards, liars, anarchists and traitors", the leaflets criticise Labour and Kitty Ussher and Gordon Birtwistle and the Liberal democrats.
It claims they have helped create a country where 'white people are facing the prospect of becoming an ethnic minority in their own land'.
A spokesperson for the hate crime and diversity unit said: "We are aware of the leaflets.
"We have a copy and we are examining them to see if there is anything improper in them."
Gordon Birtwistle condemned the leaflet for propagating racial disharmony within Burnley.
He said: "I think these leaflets are absolutely disgusting and I am appalled.
"We have a multicultural community here, not just Muslims but also people from Eastern Europe.
"I would hope the police are looking at these leaflets.
"I am looking at it with my solicitors and the party.
"I am taking advice on the matter but I dropped the leaflet in the bin.
"Parties like this who are pedalling hatred should not be allowed to drop such leaflets through letter boxes."
Kitty Ussher said she was not prepared to comment on the leaflets or the party's campaign.
A spokesperson for England First, which has headquarters in Westview, Overtown, Cliviger, defended their campaign.
He said: "The leafleting is part of our campaign for the general election so if the election was called people would be aware of our party.
"What has happened under the current government is not good for native people who we believe are being displaced.
"In the next 60 years native people will become a minority in England.
"We believe people will vote for us because they agree with our policies."
The party plans to put up candidates in Burnley, Milton Keynes and possibly Blackburn in the general election having fielded candidates at the last election in 2004.
10:55pm Friday 26th October 2007
There's a pretty lively comments section as well.