The British National Party has defended a London councillor who is accused of verbally abusing a local newspaper journalist just days before his party’s push for London Assembly seats in next week’s local polls.
According to the Ilford Recorder, Barking and Dagenham councillor Bob Bailey, who is a BNP candidate for the London Assembly, called the paper’s news editor, Sally Lowe, a ‘Nazi”, a ‘shit’and said the paper’s coverage was ‘biased bullshit’in a phone conversation earlier today.
Lowe claimed the conversation ended after she protested at Bailey’s language but said that within half an hour the councillor turned up at the Recorder’s offices accompanied by several party activists, shouting through a loudhailer.
Lowe was out of the office when the activists arrived – and a Police Community Support Officer moved them on. The scene was captured by one of the Recorder’s photographers.
Lowe told Press Gazette: ‘I didn’t really get a word in. He was just getting very angry. I said ‘I can’t have a dialogue with you if you are going to keep on swearing’. But he just got swearing even more.
‘I wish I had been recording it or taking notes but I was so stunned that I couldn’t. To be called a jobsworth, a cleverclogs and a Nazi in one phone call is quite something.’
According to Lowe, Bailey was upset that the paper, which had recently published profiles of candidates from the three main political parties and the Green Party, had not chosen to interview anyone from the BNP.
‘He said that we haven’t given them any coverage,’she said. ‘The stance we have was that for the four main parties we did a profile and we listed all the others. We can’t profile every single party.”
A spokesman for the BNP stood by Bailey’s actions. He said: ‘The Recorder papers are astonishingly biased against us and they make no attempt at hiding that, there’s no love lost between us.”
Asked about Bailey’s language, he said: ‘To be honest I wouldn’t blame him because the way that paper behaved – it’s scandalous that they should pass themselves off as an impartial purveyor of news when all the time they are undermining the BNP and propping up Ken Livingstone.”