Brown calls for race law rethink

Gordon Brown has called for a rethink of race laws after British national party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin was cleared of inciting racial hatred yesterday.

The chancellor said: “Any preaching of religious or racial hatred will offend mainstream opinion in this country and I think we have got to do whatever we can to root it out, from whatever quarter it comes”.

He told the BBC that current legislation may need revising, saying: “If that means that we have to look at the laws again, I think we will have to do so. Mainstream opinion in this country will be offended by some of the statements that they have heard made.”

Lord Falconer, also speaking to the BBC, warned if there were no consequences for the kind of comments made by Mr Griffin, “what is being said to young Muslim people in this country is that we as a country are anti-Islam”.

Mr Griffin, 46, and BNP head of publicity Mark Collett, 24, had both denied charges of using words or behaviour intended to stir up racial hatred during a speech made by the party leader in West Yorkshire in 2004.

Both men were charged by police in April last year after the BBC secretly filmed the speech made by Mr Griffin at the Reservoir Tavern in Keighley, on January 19th 2004 in The Secret Agent programme.

The jury at Leeds crown court had heard extracts from the speech in which Mr Griffin denounced Islam as a “wicked, vicious faith” and that Muslims were turning Britain into a “a multiracial hellhole”.

Mr Collett told the same audience: “Let’s show these ethnics the door in 2004.”

Referring to the documentary which brought Mr Griffin’s speech to light, Mr Collett said the verdict amounted to “BNP 2, BBC 0”.

“The BBC have abused their position. They are a politically correct, politically biased organisation that have wasted licence fee-payers’ money,” he said.

In response to the verdict, the BBC said such matters should be brought to public attention.

“In this case the matters raised in [the programme] were seen by a large section of the public and caused widespread concern.”