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BECTU says no to BNP on Question Time

People and posters show opposition to the BNP's racist politics. BECTU's Luke Crawley demonstrates against a BNP broadcast outside the BBC in May 2004. Pic: Jess Hurd

28 September 2009

BECTU issued the following press release today criticising the BBC and the justice minister, Jack Straw, for their willingness to endorse the BNP's participation in a forthcoming edition of Question Time.

The union has also pledged to support any member who decides, as a matter of conscience, not to work on the broadcast because of the involvement of the BNP.

BECTU says no to BNP on Question Time

Media and entertainment union, BECTU, has today insisted that the BNP should not be given airtime to promote its racist politics.

The union’s statement comes in reply to the BBC’s decision to accept a proposal from the producers of Question Time that BNP leader, Nick Griffin, should join the panel for the programme on Thursday 22 October.

Commenting on the BBC’s decision, BECTU general secretary, Gerry Morrissey said:

“Contrary to what the BBC has said, the BNP is not a legitimate political party in our eyes. Its policies are directly opposed to the democratic principles which underpin our multi-cultural society and those policies should not be given airtime. The BNP’s constitution only permits white people to join the party; this fact speaks volumes about the BNP’s fascist policies and everyone who believes in democracy should be taking a strong stance against the BNP, rather than helping the party to spread its poison.”

The union has also criticised the justice minister, Jack Straw, for his decision to take part in the broadcast planned for 22 October.

“The Labour Party has always said that it would not share a platform with racists; this is not a matter upon which ministers should be permitted a ‘free vote’. Jack Straw’s decision is doing damage to his credibility as a senior government figure and to the Labour Party. We call upon him to reverse his decision to take part,” Gerry Morrissey continued.

BECTU represents production staff across all roles in broadcasting and has on previous occasions pledged to support any member who chooses, as a matter of conscience, not to work on output which either involves or promotes the BNP. In the past broadcasters have respected that individuals can exercise this choice.

BECTU has today reiterated that same commitment to support all members who choose not to work on this particular edition of Question Time if it goes ahead with a BNP representative on the panel. The union  will also be lending its support to anti-fascist organisations who will be campaigning against Question Time’s plans to give the BNP airtime.

ENDS

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