Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Leaders sign pledge opposing BNP

Signing of the pledge
The faith leaders signed the pledge to fight the BNP at Manchester Cathedral

Faith, community and business leaders have gathered in Manchester to show a united front against the British National Party (BNP).

The Manchester Diocese of the Church of England at the city's Cathedral held a signing of a pledge to fight the BNP.

The faith leaders are urging people not to vote for the party at the Euro elections on 4 June. BNP leader Nick Griffin is standing in the North West.

The BNP described the pledge as "bullying, intimidation and blackmail".

The pledge reads: "We oppose the racist and fascist BNP who stand to undermine 'our' Manchester."

Signatories include the Bishop of Bolton, the Bishop of Middleton and South African-born Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester Cathedral.

'Wholly digusting'

The faith leaders said: "As leaders of Greater Manchester Faith Communities, we want to express our support for the local religious leaders.

"Alongside them, we express our concern at the racist history and policies of the British National Party, which is fielding a candidate.

Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester Cathedral
The anti-BNP pledge is being backed by the UK's only black cathedral dean

"We say 'no' to the BNP's view of the world."

Others signatures are from Greater Manchester's Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities groups.

But Simon Darby, deputy leader of the BNP, described the action as "wholly disgusting and unnecessary."

He added: "This is bullying, intimidation and blackmail. If people have made up their mind to vote for us, they will do.

"It is not for the church to tell people who they can and can't vote for.

"They are throwing themselves at the altar of political correctness."

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The BNP says the church should be "more concerned about congregations"



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