Exclusive: Labour activists' rage over 'racist' Crewe campaign

Labour activists say the leaflet "degrades progressive politics"
Labour activists say the leaflet "degrades progressive politics"

Labour activists are condemning their party's by-election campaign in Crewe and Nantwich after an election leaflet was released which party members say appeals to BNP voters.

The leaflet in question shows a checklist of policies which Edward Timpson, the Conservative candidate, opposes - one of which reads: "Do you oppose making foreign nationals carry an ID card?"

The introduction of ID cards will be staggered so that foreign nationals receive them this year with British citizens waiting until 2009, but the government has never stated that it wants only foreign nationals to carry them. Such a proposal would incense civil liberties and immigration groups, as well as causing deep uneasy in the Labour party.

Also on the leaflet is a photo of the Conservative candidate's house with a caption reading "Tory boy Timpson's mansion house," a phrase some party activists found tasteless.

"The class warfare stuff, although cheap, is bordering on just about acceptable but one thing horrified me," said one Labour activist.

"'Making' and 'foreign nationals' is the language of the far right.

"What has our party come to? Do we not know who we sound like with such inflammatory, nationalist statements. Unless of course the plan is to try and appeal to the BNP in which case, I may leave the party now," the activist continued.

"Central [office] should be putting their foot down on this; I would rather the seat be lost than win on the back of a campaign based on fear."

Another activist said: "Firstly, the person who commissioned it should be fired or removed and never consulted again.

"Secondly, it should be apologised for - unreservedly. I'm deeply ashamed someone from this party thought it was a good strategy and they had the naivety not to think it wouldn't be exploited.

"I'm two steps short of sending money to the Tory campaign."

Another activist called the leaflet "abhorrent" and said it "degrades progressive politics".

The Crewe and Nantwich by-election is being held on Thursday week and is being treated as a litmus test of Labour's meltdown, with the Tories expected to make a strong push to overturn Labour's majority.


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