Tory campaign 'racist'

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THE LIBERAL Democrats yesterday made a formal complaint to the Conservative Party chairman, Sir Norman Fowler, over claims that Tories in Leicester are waging a racially divisive by-election campaign.

Robert Maclennan, the party's homes affairs spokesman, yesterday released three campaign leaflets published by Conservative candidates in the by-election due for March 17.

He said that the Liberal Democrats, who were themselves at the centre of a race row over their campaigning in Tower Hamlets, condemned any campaign which 'seeks election on a platform of prejudice and division'.

The leaflets highlight Conservative opposition to proposals to build a mosque, a Sikh temple and a Hindu temple in a new housing estate in the Humberstone constituency.

One of the Tory documents says: 'If places of worship are considered necessary in the Hamilton Development, they should be restricted to religious groups serving the needs of the local community and not outside groups'.

The campaign against the mosque and the two temples has been mounted by two Conservative candidates, John Mugglestone and Roman Scuplak who argue that that the 'subsidy on the sale of land for places of worship, together with the cost of the infrastructure, will amount to pounds 1m. Just think what this money could provide if it were spent on services and facilities for the people of the Humberstone ward'.

Mr Maclennan claims the leaflets appear 'to be capable of, or indeed even possibly to invite, a racial interpretation'.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: 'This does not sound remotely comparable to the material put out by the Liberal Democrats in Tower Hamlets.'