For reasons not yet explained, Cllr. Jones signed the nomination papers of BNP candidate Daniel Brown, who is also standing in the town's North Road ward. As Cllr. Jones also signed the nomination papers of fellow LibDem candidates Mike Barker and Fred Lawton, he was effectively placing his own candidacy in a very curious position!Perhaps not surprisingly, Cllr. Jones has been ousted as the LibDem Group Leader as their first response to the crisis, and the local party has put out a very terse statement which leaves more questions unanswered. Principally, how on earth can an experienced councillor like Steven Jones claim that he signed the nomination papers "as a mistake?"What local LibDems want everyone to forget is that their party has been involved in shady involvement with the BNP in this part of town before. It was only Labour's exposure of the cosying-up between the LibDems, the Tories and the BNP in the short-lived Harrowgate Hill Community Group (sic) in 2003 which caused that venture to collapse. The tragedy is that when the three main democratic parties in Darlington should have maintained a united front against racist politics in the town during this election, the LibDem's Leader has blown away
that front with the stroke of his pen. I don't think this is the last we'll hear of this story by any means.
The LibDems have THIS to say on their local Darlington website. In case you think I am making this up click HERE to see the official nomination record on Darlington Council website.
Maybe the normal LibDem slogan “Only the Lib Dems can defeat [Party name here] should be replaced by "Only the Lib Dems can get the BNP onto the ballot paper”. Just a thought. Only trying to be helpful.
Tory Party chairman Francis Maude has respondend in trenchant fashion...
There can be no excuse for a mainstream political party promoting extremism
and racism. The evidence is there for all to see. Menzies Campbell
must get off the fence and sack Steve Jones. He must send a clear message
to the rest of his Party that racism will not be tolerated by expelling this
councillor from the Liberal Democrats. It’s also alarming that, of
the three main political parties, the Liberal Democrats have the worst record in
local elections of fielding candidates against the BNP. It is time that
they woke up to the danger posed by this extremist party.