Labour minister to face Griffin in TV debate
The Cabinet has agreed that a senior minister should face Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, on BBC1's Question Time.
Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, and John Denham, the Communities Secretary, have both indicated they are willing to sit alongside Mr Griffin.
The decision was disclosed yesterday by Gordon Brown in an interview with Radio City in Liverpool. He said: "I'm not afraid of debating anybody. We have to expose what they are about."
The Prime Minister said the BNP should be tackled on such issues as its attitude to mixed marriage and citizenship and added: "Once these views are known, then people won't want to vote for them."
The cabinet move reverses Labour's previous refusal to share a platform with the extreme right. It has split senior ministers, with the Home Secretary Alan Johnson and the Welsh Secretary Peter Hain both saying they would not debate with Mr Griffin.
The BBC is to invite the BNP leader, who won a seat in the European Parliament in June, to appear on Question Time for the first time next month.
Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have said they will debate with Mr Griffin on the basis that his policies have to be challenged.
Labour had previously taken the opposite view – that engaging with the BNP gave legitimacy and respectability to its views on race.
But a majority of ministers believe that leaving an "empty chair" alongside Mr Griffin is no longer an option and would help the BNP present itself as outside the political establishment.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...