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Support any party other than far-right BNP: Cameron

Written by: Staff
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London, Apr 24 (UNI) British Conservative leader David Cameron has called on voters in next month's English local elections to support any party other than the British National Party (BNP).

He accused the far-Right BNP of ''thriving on hatred'' and setting one race against the other.

''I hope nobody votes for the BNP. I would rather have people vote for any other party,'' Mr Cameron told Sky News.

His remarks reflect growing alarm among mainstream parties that the BNP is set to make gains on May 4, when almost 23 million voters in London and in borough and metropolitan councils go to the polls.

A ''YouGov survey'' for The Daily Telegraph today said that millions of voters are not enamoured by any of the main parties.

Fewer than one voter in five wants the Conservatives to control their local council. The same number wants to see Labour in power locally. Still fewer fancy the Liberal Democrats.

A substantial fraction of the electorate would rather see no one party in power, but a two-party or more in coalition.

Widespread disenchantment with the main parties suggests thousands of those, who would vote on May 4 will cast their ballots for Green, BNP and other minor-party candidates.

A YouGov poll last week suggested that seven per cent of voters might back the BNP in an early general election. Those who would like to see the BNP in power locally is almost six per cent.

A Sunday Mirror poll suggested that 45.5 per cent of those certain to vote in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham would vote BNP, along with seven per cent in Bradford.

The BNP leader Nick Griffin, denied that his party was seeking to capitalise on racial prejudice. He said Barking and Dagenham were being ''swamped'' by immigrants, many of whom he claimed were asylum seekers while others he alleged had been given financial assistance by other councils to move into the area.

''There is no prejudice or misunderstanding about what's happening in Barking and Dagenham,'' Mr Griffin told BBC1's Politics Show.

''This is a place which, according to its own MP, five or six years ago was almost entirely white working-class and it is being swamped by a wave of non-white African immigration,''Mr Griffin said.

The Conservative MP for Shipley Philip Davies in West Yorkshire, blamed mainstream parties for the apparent rising popularity of the BNP, accusing them of failing to reflect people's concerns over immigration and race relations.

He said people were so afraid of expressing their opinions, the only way to do it was to ''put a cross in a secret ballot for the BNP.'' Although he made no direct mention of Mr Cameron, Mr Davies's remarks will be seen as an implicit criticism of the new leader's decision to take the Conservatives towards the centre-ground by focusing on issues such as the environment, rather than traditional Conservative concerns like immigration.

Mr Cameron insisted that he was reaching out to voters in the inner-city seats targeted by the BNP and making a determined effort to increase the Tory presence in urban areas.

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