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LOOPHOLE IN LAW IS FANNING BNP HATE; MP pushes for legalchange.

Byline: JON PARKER

BNP activists who posted leaflets claiming asylum seekers were planning bomb attacks will not beprosecuted.

Now racial equality campaigners have demanded that what they see as a loophole in the law beclosed.

Cheshire, Halton and Warrington Racial Equality Commission complained topoliceafter the leaflet campaign was mounted during the June Europeanelections.

After a two-monthinvestigation, crown prosecution lawyers dropped the case, saying asylum seekers were not covered by incitement to racial hatred laws.

Leaflets referred to``asylum bombers planning attacks''and ``at least 4, 000 extremists in Britain''.

The PublicOrder Act bans racial hatred against groups defined by ``colour, race or nationality''. Asylum seekers do not fit this definition.

Shantele James, REC director, said:``The leaflet attempted to portray asylum seekers as criminals and dole scroungers.

``But until we'reable to close this loophole, racists will be able to print materiallike it without fear of prosecution. ''

Derek Twigg, Labour MP for Halton, has written to Home Secretary David Blunkett urging a law change. He said:``This leaflet shows whatapoisonous organisation the BNP is. ''

BNP activity in Halton also saw two candidates stand in the local elections.

Anthony Watts of Lodge Lane, Runcorn, stood in Runcorn's Castlefields district, and Andy Taylor, of Appleton Road, Widnes, stood in the town's Appleton ward.

The BNP failed to win any seats in Merseyside in either election.

ABNP spokesman said the leaflet was within the law and there was never any chanceofa prosecution.

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PLEA: Derek Twigg has called for change in the law
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 14, 2004
Words:249
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