BNP blasted over poppy "insult"

DISRESPECTFUL members of the British National Party have caused 'the greatest possible insult' to Wakefield's war dead after marring the city's Remembrance Day services, it has been claimed.

DISRESPECTFUL members of the British National Party have caused 'the greatest possible insult' to Wakefield's war dead after marring the city's Remembrance Day services, it has been claimed.

Incensed bystanders at Sunday's service at the Rishworth Street memorial watched as a BNP representative marched up to lay a wreath under the guise of East Ardsley Conservative Club.

Horrified dignitaries quickly realised what the wreath stood for and it was immediately removed.

And a wreath bearing the BNP logo was also placed at a memorial in Horbury with a note which read 'You fought bravely to keep this country for your own. Rest in Peace. Now it's our turn'.

Both wreaths caused distress to war veterans and members of the public.

MP David Hinchliffe said: "It was an absolute disgrace.

"When I noticed it was a BNP wreath I went over to the mayor and the British Legion president and drew their attention to the fact.

"It was the greatest possible insult to those we were commemorating, bearing in mind what the BNP stands for, and why these people died. Everyone around me, whatever their politics, thought it was a disgrace. I was incensed at what they had done."

Mr Hinchliffe says he will write to the British Legion over the incident.

He said: "It reflected very badly on the whole day.

"They have always done a great job of organising it and for many years it has gone smoothly. There has never been a political element to this ceremony. Quite rightly, it is a non-political affair.

"I thought it was a bit strange when they announced the Conservative Club. Whether they were using it as an umbrella to put forward their wreath, I don't know.

"Like many other people I was very angry – in fact livid – that these characters could do this and I felt so sorry for the families of those who we were commemorating."

Coun David Hopkins, leader of the Conservative group on Wakefield Council, said: "We are not associated with the BNP and he was an opportunist – what cause or justification he had to come up at that point I don't know."

At Horbury cenotaph people were equally shocked at the message on the card from the BNP.

Horbury councillor Janet Holmes said: "It should not have been a political thing at all. When we went down for the service on Tuesday we were looking at the wreaths and I know that the members of the British Legion were upset at the words on the card.

"What they did was not on, especially the words – that's what people most objected to."

John Aveyard, the BNP candidate who laid the wreath at the Horbury cenotaph, said: "I stood away from all the other politicians at the service on Sunday to make a protest for the simple reason that they are traitors to the people who fought and died.

"They fought to keep this country for us and that is what we are also doing.

"I spoke to the British Legion the day before and they were happy for us to lay our wreath after we explained why we were doing it."

Les Robson, a veteran of the Second World War and a member of the BNP in Wakefield, said: "I went through the war right up to D-Day and up to the end of the Palestinian conflicts.

"If someone had removed the wreath that I had laid I would think it despicable.

"To think they can interfere with someone else's wreath is bad because we don't interfere with theirs."

The British Legion declined to comment about either incident.

In nearby Dewsbury, the Rev Paul Crabb stopped a Remembrance service and also removed a BNP wreath.

He said making a political statement during an act of worship was inappropriate.