A senior Labour figure will go head to head in a debate with BNP leader Nick Griffin on the BBC's Question Time, after the party dropped its opposition to sharing a platform with the far-Right, the Independent reports today.
The Independent says "there is a growing feeling within senior Labour ranks that simply ignoring the BNP has enabled it to portray itself outside the traditional political system...Labour yesterday announced it was reviewing its policy of not engaging with the BNP – but made clear it would field a representative if Mr Griffin appeared on Question Time. A party source said there would be no question of Labour being represented by an "empty chair" under those circumstances."
In a leader today, the Independent says: "However frustrating it might be to contemplate the BNP chief appearing on a flagship programme and savouring what he would deem a propaganda victory, the BBC's decision is a sensible one.
"A mature democracy has nothing to fear from the BNP and little to gain from trying to shield voters from its simplistic, repugnant ideas. To pretend that the party does not exist by denying it a public platform is a questionable tactic in any case. It only feeds the paranoia felt in some quarters that a liberal establishment is conspiring to shut down debate."