Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry BNP charity leaflet campaign 'absurd'

Front of leaflet
Image caption The BNP says the leaflet campaign aims to address a local issue

The British National Party has defended its decision to leaflet residents in Coventry, asking them to donate scrap metal to help "British" charities.

A BNP spokesman said they were merely addressing the issue of scrap merchants operating in the Coundon area.

Coventry North-West MP Geoffrey Robinson, who was contacted by one of his constituents about the leaflets, called it "an absurd proposition".

Help For Heroes, named on the leaflet, said it was "strictly non-political".

Mark Baddrick, a BNP organiser in the city, said: "This is a local issue that concerns a lot of people... that they are really fed up with this trail of scrap vans trawling the streets."

Mr Baddrick admitted the party had not approached Help for Heroes but said they had done benefits for the charity before.

"We will approach them when we have raised some funds and if they decline the offer of a donation, that's entirely up to them."

Responding to the criticism, he added: "If they're really that concerned, why don't they address the issue we're trying to address instead of criticising our efforts."

Labour MP Mr Robinson, said he could "understand people being very upset" about the leaflet.

"What is the BNP trying to do? It's a political party. They should concentrate on those affairs.

"The idea they can can become conduit to charities is absurd."

Bryn Parry from Help for Heroes said: "We have no affiliation with any political party and do not endorse the use of our name for the promotion of any political viewpoint.

"The money we raise supports wounded servicemen and women of every colour and creed.

"We strongly oppose any individual or political party who believes we should act otherwise, and those who seek to use the charity's name for their own political gain."

Councillor Ed Ruane from the Labour-led Coventry City Council, said the authority had joined forces with the police to "see if this is legal and whether the BNP are licensed to trade in this manner".

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