Friday 20 April 2012

Livingstone pulls out of BBC mayoral debate in protest at BNP invite

Ken Livingstone, Labour’s candidate for mayor of London, has pulled out of the BBC’s mayoral debate in protest at the inclusion of the fascist British National Party on the programme.

Ken Livingstone said today:

I have long held to the belief in no platform for the far right. The far right want to destroy our democracy and stand for the elimination of our basic rights. They cannot be treated as a legitimate part of politics.

I am withdrawing from Monday’s mayoral debate on BBC London 94.9 on the grounds that I am not prepared to share a platform with the British National Party.

We have been in negotiation about a debate with the main candidates for BBC London 94.9 – but only now have we been informed that the BNP had been invited to take part in this debate, and this has been confirmed to us today.

I will not share a platform with the BNP and it is a point of principle to me that I never will do.

That the BNP candidate may have called for a second preference for me is clearly designed to disorganise progressive opinion and divide opposition to them.

Not only don’t I want their second preference but I will not share a platform with them. I urge everyone to use their vote on 3 May to vote to keep the BNP out.

UAF joint secretary Weyman Bennett said:

We would like to congratulate Ken Livingstone on his principled stand in refusing to share a platform with the BNP.

The BNP is a fascist party led by a convicted Holocaust denier, Nick Griffin. Everywhere it goes, it stirs up racist hatred against black people, Jewish people, Muslims and LGBT people. These fascists should not be given air time.

Ken is a founder member of UAF and we fully support his move to pull out of the BBC debate.

UAF is urging all voters to use their votes to keep the BNP out on Thursday 3 May. The fascist party is standing in the mayoral race and is also seeking to regain a seat on the Greater London Assembly through the “top-up list”. Antifascists are determined not to let the BNP sneak in again.

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