BNP to base election broadcast on documentary that Channel 4 pulled

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Indy Politics

The British National Party demonstrated its readiness to exploit any hint of ethnic tension in pursuit of votes yesterday by revealing that it is to base a national party election broadcast on the television programme pulled by Channel 4 following police advice that it could spark racial violence.

The British National Party demonstrated its readiness to exploit any hint of ethnic tension in pursuit of votes yesterday by revealing that it is to base a national party election broadcast on the television programme pulled by Channel 4 following police advice that it could spark racial violence.

The party's broadcast on Channel 5 tomorrow evening will include comments alleged to have been made by a mother who claims her white child was drugged and gang-raped by Asian paedophile gangs in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Channel 4 pulled the documentary that made the same allegations last week after West Yorkshire Police warned it could stoke unrest ahead of next month's elections.

The BBC has insisted that the BNP broadcast should include material relevant only to the European elections and will show an alternative, more general film. ITV will do the same and there will not be a broadcast on Channel 4. But Channel 5, which threw out a BNP broadcast at the European elections in 1999, is understood to have cleared the Yorkshire film. The channel did not respond to calls on the subject yesterday.

The documentary, Edge of the City, built on a Channel 4 news report last year which revealed how Asian men in Bradford were grooming and targeting white girls as young as 11 for sex and drug abuse. It was withdrawn seven days ago at the request of Colin Cramphorn, the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire.

Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, seized on the news that the programme had been pulled and immediately appealed on his party's website for evidence of Asian paedophile gangs. He claimed his party met 12 mothers, three of whom he spoke to, and discovered evidence of child abuse in Rotherham, Dewsbury, Colne and Rochdale.

The result is a broadcast narrated by Mr Griffin which features an actress who conveys the alleged thoughts of a Bradford mother above the caption "Donna's story." She says: "In a way we're lucky. Some of her friends have suffered the same abuse and ended up hooked on crack."

Other interviewees, including a Halifax publican and an "amateur football referee" dressed in his match kit, attest to anti-white violence in the broadcast, which goes out at 5.55pm.

Evidence emerged last night that much of the Yorkshire video material was exaggerated. For example, an alleged attack by a 200-strong Asian "mob" on the Clarence public house in Halifax was actually a fight between gangs ­ some of whose members were Asian and some who were white. No one was injured and Asian community elders later apologised for damage caused.

Ann Cryer, the Labour MP for Keighley, West Yorkshire, who contributed to the Channel 4 news broadcast and has worked with the mothers of the girls targeted, accused the BNP of "making political gain on the backs of the misery of young girls and their mothers ­ particularly the mothers, who have had a terrible time of it".

She admitted there was a problem but said it was being successfully sorted out by the police and was not as severe as the BNP suggested. Mrs Cryer said she did not know "Donna" and had spoken to other mothers in the town who had no knowledge of her. She conceded that pulling the original Channel 4 documentary had handed the BNP an issue to capitalise on. But she maintained that Mr Cramphorn had been right to protect the people of her constituency from racial tension.

Mr Griffin said a fear of reprisals prevented him from disclosing the mother's identity and suggested that he believes he now has broadcasters over a barrel. "If they make the mistake of not showing one of our broadcasts, it will create all the more publicity for us," he said.

Amid intense security at a news conference in a pro-BNP pub in Illingworth, near Halifax, yesterday, Mr Griffin paraded his daughter Jennifer, 17, on her first public appearance for the party.

Ms Griffin fronts the BNP's Welsh language election broadcast in which, in anglicised Welsh, she complains of a "new flood" of English immigrants threatening Welsh-speaking communitiesand speaks of race bias in the coverage of the Stephen Lawrence murder. The film is not shot in Wales.

Any party fielding candidates in a sixth of seats contested has the right to an election broadcast. The BNP has insufficient local council candidates to qualify but has secured its broadcast by virtue of fielding candidates in every Euro election seat.

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