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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 February, 2004, 15:43 GMT
Stars oppose BNP candidate
Bill Nighy
Bill Nighy is backing the anti-BNP campaign
Celebrities are campaigning to stop a British National Party candidate winning a council seat.

Prominent names, including film director Richard Curtis and ex-Liberal MP Sir Clement Freud, support the initiative organised by local people.

They are opposing the BNP candidate for Yoxford by-election for Suffolk Coastal District Council ward.

Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour are also standing against the BNP's Paul Goodchild on Thursday.

David Brown, who with other residents formed a committee two weeks ago to mobilise voters against Mr Goodchild, said many of the famous names lived locally or had close connections with the area and were happy to join their fight.

'Get out and vote'

He added: "Our campaign is that people should get out and vote. As you can imagine, with local elections people think it doesn't really matter.

"We are suggesting it does matter and that every vote does count. We don't want to let the BNP into this area by the back door.

"We thought rather than people taking our word for it, if there were famous names with us it would add weight to our argument."

Other celebrities who have joined the campaign include former Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves, broadcaster Emma Freud and actor Bill Nighy.

Speaking about the celebrities, Dr Phill Edwards, national spokesman for the BNP, said: "The point is they do not know or understand what our true aims or objectives are.

"They are foolish, silly people and it's time they got a real job. They are abusing their position in my opinion."

Other candidates

All the famous personalities have put their names to a statement from the Yoxford residents which states: "Voters should not be fooled by the BNP's attempt to masquerade as a party concerned with rural needs."

It adds: "Their reputation is based on violence and racism. Let us show that decency and tolerance are better than hate and violence: use your vote wisely on 5 February."

The Yoxford vacancy was caused in September by the death, at 62, of Conservative councillor Peter Wragg, who had represented the ward since 1999.

Mr Brown said the other political candidates standing in the by-election - Warwick Faville (Conservative), John Slater (Liberal Democrat) and Timothy Williams (Labour) - had all signed their statement.

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01 May 02  |  Politics


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