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It is right to hear - and oppose - BNP'

PUBLISHED: 15:26 21 October 2009 | UPDATED: 17:17 25 August 2010

A TORY parliamentary candidate says we must fight the BNP head on as they are now part of our political life whether we like it or not.

A TORY parliamentary candidate says we must fight the BNP head on as they are now part of our political life whether we like it or not.

Tory parliamentary candidate for Eltham David Gold agrees that BNP leader Nick Griffin should be allowed to appear on the BBC panel show Question Time tonight, despite a wave of controversy surrounding the invite.

Mr Gold claims the Cambridge graduate's inclusion on the panel will have the same affect as when a BNP member turned up to a meeting he called in New Eltham to discuss immigration.

The prospective MP claims the audience started disagreeing with the BNP member once he talked about an issue in depth.

This was also cited on last week's Question Time by Tory shadow immigration minister Damian Green, who was also at the New Eltham meeting.

Mr Gold said: "It is right for them to go on Question Time. Whether we like it or not, they have two MEPs. I personally don't like it.

"They are now part of our political lives.

"We will only win those arguments if we draw them into a debate.

"Many people approached me afterwards to say the meeting changed their opinion. I have always believed the mainstream political parties should not hide heads in the sand and pretend the BNP does not exist.

"Anybody can make their party seem attractive on a leaflet.

"Rather than criticising those who vote for the BNP, I prefer to encourage debate and seek to persuade those who have become disillusioned that they should vote for a positive tolerant and progressive mainstream party."

He admitted that some people will be attracted by what Griffin will say on Question Time, but added: "People will draw their own conclusions and hopefully they will be the right ones."

However, he refused to say if he thought the extreme right wing party should be regarded as a legally

legitimate one. He said: "There are racists in all parties.

"I can't think of an example when our party has not clamped down on anyone who has spoken in an unacceptable manner.

"When people were throwing eggs at the BNP in Parliament Square, I was not among the people who thought it was funny."

The Conservative Party have confirmed that their shadow minister for community cohesion, Baroness Warsi, who became the first Muslim woman to sit on the front bench of a British party in 2007, will be on the panel.

Black American playwright and critic Bonnie Greer is also expected to appear, alongside justice secretary Jack Straw and the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhn.

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