Sky News, Jun. 9
A decision to appoint a BNP councillor to a committee dedicated to improving race relations has been described as “mad” by some of its other members.
Adrian Marsden was appointed to the Race Equality and Community Cohesion Working Group of West Yorkshire-based Calderdale Council earlier this week.
Mr Marsden is one of three BNP representative on the unitary Calderdale authority who were re-elected at the recent local elections.
But fellow working party member and deputy leader of the Labour group on the council, councillor Mohammed Najib, said: “It is just the biggest joke ever to appoint someone whose policies are racist to a committee aimed at making sure communities are brought together.
“It is absolutely mad. It is very, very disappointing. We have got to see what we can do about it.”
He said the decision to appoint Mr Marsden to the eight-person committee was taken by the council’s cabinet on Monday after he was nominated by his party.
Conservative council leader John Ford issued a statement saying: “In line with council procedure, all party groups were invited to nominate to the working parties, including Race Equality and Community Cohesion.
“As a member of this working party Councillor Marsden will be obliged to explain his views and those of his party on race and social cohesion.
“If he says anything damaging he will be challenged. Such views will not prevail.”
Mr Marsden defended his appointment, saying: “We have to have an input. If we didn’t, our enemies would use that against us, too.
“I have got a clear idea of how I believe we can bring an end to all the racist stuff there is in Halifax.
“The other parties put their members of ethnic minorities on this working party, but surely it should represent the racial make-up of the council. Don’t the white people of Calderdale count?”