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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
Le Pen to help BNP Europe effort
Jean-Marie Le Pen
Mr Le Pen is coming to the West Midlands
French National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen is to help the far-right British National Party (BNP) launch its European election effort.

Mr Le Pen wants to bolster the presence of the far-right in Europe so they can form their own bloc and speak from the floor of the parliament.

BNP leader Nick Griffin said a 'nationalist' presence in Brussels could affect policies on immigration.

Mr Le Pen is to attend a West Midlands fundraising dinner on Saturday.

Mr Griffin told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "MEPs who aren't in a bloc get very little chance to speak so at least we get a chance to put the nationalist point of view across.

"When the liberal-left politicians all over Europe find they really have now got a nationalist alternative there at the heart of Europe then I think we will see the same thing that has happened in Holland in the past two years.

Publicity?

"Once liberal Holland has now got the toughest asylum policies in Europe - this isn't because the government there has had a change of heart, it's because they are scared of the nationalists."

Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin has set his sights on gaining a voice in Europe
Labour's Kahlid Mahmood, who represents Birmingham Perry Barr, said it was crucial mainstream politicians took the BNP on and "exposed them for what they are: the party with no real policies other than disruption between communities".

But Liberal Democrat chairman Matthew Taylor cautioned against pressing the "panic button".

"Sometimes the panic button is being hit by other parties who have talked up the BNP.

"That kind of publicity is the only basis on which they have won - we don't talk them up."




SEE ALSO:
BNP leader defends Scottish visit
21 Mar 04  |  Scotland


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