Tories are taking our turf, says BNP chief

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Indy Politics

Michael Howard's immigration policy faces fresh scrutiny after accusations from the leader of the British National Party that Tories were "moving in on our turf".

Michael Howard's immigration policy faces fresh scrutiny after accusations from the leader of the British National Party that Tories were "moving in on our turf".

Nick Griffin said yesterday he was happy that immigration had been brought into the mainstream but felt that the Tories' lunge to the right left little space for his party to manoeuvre.

"It's not such a problem in our key areas, where our vote is holding up or being boosted by them [the Conservatives and Labour] talking about the issue. But I quite freely accept that, on a nationwide basis, the Tories will con enough people to make a significant hole in our vote. It is a definite move on to our turf."

Mr Griffin, who was arrested in December for suspicion of incitement to racial hatred, after an undercover BBC reporter filmed him calling Islam a "vicious, wicked faith", rejected suggestions he would move the BNP further to the right to distinguish its policies from the Conservatives, insisting: "We don't need to. The mainstream has come to us on this."

He said his party would accept limited electoral success this year in expectation of rich pickings at the 2006 council elections: "The Tories and the Labour party are playing the same game, raising people's willingness to talk about it. They've broken the taboo about not having an immigration debate at election time.

"By getting people to vote on this issue, by making this issue one of the talking points ... they are building up hopes and the chance of a bigger breakthrough for us in the local elections in 2006. We're happy with that."

Mr Griffin is standing in the forthcoming general election in Keighley, West Yorkshire. In 2001, he came third in Oldham West, ahead of the Liberal Democrats, with. A local police chief said his presence there was "a deliberate ploy to exploit a racial situation".

Mr Griffin said the BNP's presence in Keighley was a "safety valve" to stop whites resorting to "bricks and petrol bombs". Nationwide, he said, the BNP would stand in at least 105 constituencies, expected to finish third in several seats and "would be delighted with one or two seconds, because you are one MP's heartbeat away from a by-election, which we can win". Key seats are Burnley and Dudley North, Birmingham.

During an interview with The Independent in his home town of Welshpool, Mr Griffin also said Enoch Powell "saw what was coming" when he made his infamous 1968 "Rivers of Blood" speech, for which Conservative leader Edward Heath sacked him from the shadow cabinet. "What Powell talks about in his 'Rivers of Blood' speech - that wasn't an airy-fairy thing. The man had a second sight ... there's a huge race bomb in this country, just ticking."

Mr Griffin said people should "stop pretending" humans were not inherently racist and could live peacefully in multi-racial societies: "Scientists are now studying chimpanzees and found that different chimpanzee gangs have tribal wars against their neighbours. Why should the naked ape be any different?"

Asked how many non-whites should live in Britain, he said: "Several per cent would at least be entirely stable. We'd rather we were back in the position of 1948, where there were about 10,000 non-whites in the whole of the country. It would be far better."

The BNP manifesto promises an end to immigration, the deportation of all "illegals", criminals, asylum-seekers and "those who don't adhere to the standards and traditions of the natives". He said the BNP, if ever elected, might also introduce a policy of pro-white discrimination to "level the playing field".