'We offer reality' says BNP candidate

THE first ever candidate to stand for the British National Party in Colchester has claimed that the far-right organisation represents the only voice of “reality” in the forthcoming local elections.

Roddy Ashworth

THE first ever candidate to stand for the British National Party in Colchester has claimed that the far-right organisation represents the only voice of “reality” in the forthcoming local elections.

But news that the whites-only group is fielding a candidate in the Highwoods ward of the borough for the May 1 poll has been met with dismay and condemnation by the leaders of each of the three major political parties in the town.

Patrick Sullivan, a 69-year-old grandfather who lives in sheltered council accommodation in the ward, insisted at the weekend he is not a fascist and that the BNP was not made up of “thugs and criminals”.

But Mr Sullivan claimed that “within 10 years, Highwoods will be a non white-area” and, when asked directly by the EADT if he was a racist, said: “I would not class myself as a racist - but it the dear Lord wanted us to integrate, he would have made us the same colour and given us the same way of thinking.”

His election material includes statements such as: “I am a true patriot and treasure the long standing culture and heritage of this country. I do not want to see it altered by the cultures of other nationals who come to live here.”

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Mr Sullivan also said all immigration into the UK should be immediately halted, compared homosexuality to prostitution and said the three main political parties were corrupt. “We are the only party who tell the truth, who offer reality,” he insisted.

Yesterday Robert Davidson, Conservative leader of Colchester Borough Council, said he thought both the BNP's and Mr Sullivan's attitudes were “incompatible” with modern Colchester and its history.

“Colchester has been a place that has always benefited from immigrants, from the Romans, who built most of the infrastructure of the town, the Normans, who built the castle, the weavers who made up the Dutch quarter, right up to now where we have groups like the Ghurkhas, many of whom have settled here, and the myriad of ethnic groups at the university, all of whom continue to contribute greatly to the town's diversity.

“I don't believe there is any place for the BNP in Colchester and I would implore anybody living in Highwoods to examine closely exactly what they stand for. They are completely wrong.”

Martin Hunt, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, said he was saddened the BNP was targeting the borough: “We in Colchester very much value the presence of the Armed Forces - which presumably this candidate would do also - but I would guess a fairly high percentage of the Armed Forces are from ethnic minorities.

“We have a successful university with a large and ethnically diverse population. I don't think there is any large organisation in this town that could operate without the input of ethnic minorities - what about the hospital? We encourage people with medical qualifications from abroad to come here, because we don't have enough in this country.”

Commenting on Mr Sullivan's prediction that Highwoods would be a non-white ares in 10 years time, Mr Hunt said: “That is a bizarre and ridiculous statement to make. I don't think he's got the slightest chance in Colchester, because we are just not like that.”

Echoing Mr Hunt's sentiments, Labour group leader Tim Young said: “There is no evidence for that at all. The nationalities in Colchester live in harmony and the prospect of that happening is beyond belief.

“The minority groups that live here add to the cultural diversity of the town and we should all live together. What he is talking is nonsense, it is dangerous nonsense. It is scare-mongering and it should be condemned - and by every right-thinking person it will be.

“We are a diverse borough and there is enough healthy political debate between the three parties to see the BNP as an unwanted and unwelcome distraction in these elections.

“Their agenda is alien to the tolerant nature of Colchester residents and their extreme and divisive policies should be soundly beaten in Highwoods.”

* Also standing for the forthcoming borough council election in the Highwoods Ward of Colchester are: Anne Allan (Con), John Baker (LD), Jordan Newell (Lab), *Beverley Oxford (Ind), Robbie Spence (Green).

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