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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Padiham set for UK’s first BNP mayor (UK)

A member of the British National Pary is set to become Padiham’s mayor and probably his party’s first civic leader in England.

And community leaders have hit out at the appointment of John Cave as deputy mayor of Padiham Town Council for the next 12 months.

The role means Coun Cave, who is married to BNP county councillor Sharon Wilkinson, will take over the mayoral chains from Coun Bob Clark in a year.

Coun Cave said he believed the town council was non-political and that he was entitled, and proud, to serve the town of his birth.

But politicians and campaigners questioned the appointment, and the Bishop of Burnley said a BNP member could not serve the whole community without ‘rejecting his party’s philosophy.’ Coun Shah Hussain, who represents Daneshouse and Stoneyholme on Burnley Council, said: “I have concerns with what the BNP stands for and its policies. It is a party that is divisive to the community.”

Bishop of Burnley John Goddard said: “I always see the role of the mayor and deputy mayor as the chief citizen of the community, and they have a responsibility to uphold and defend the rights of all British citizens of the town, regardless of race, colour or status.

“Given that I look forward to the deputy mayor showing that the BNP are wrong in their racist policies.

“It will be interesting to see if he acts in the best traditions of a mayor in the community, and I pray he does, as he will have to reject the philosophy of the BNP.

“If he retains the BNP political philosophy then how can he expect to serve and represent the whole of the community?”

The appointment of Coun Cave was confirmed at a recent town council meeting, when the majority of councillors voted in favour of him taking over the role of deputy mayor.

A spokesman for the Hope not Hate campaign, which celebrates ‘modern Britain’ and claims to expose the BNP, said: “We are disappointed that anybody holding the views of the BNP can secure a position of this kind.

“The role of mayor in any community is to act as the figurehead of the community and we don’t see how that role can be carried out by anybody who represents a party whose sole aim is to divide communities.”

Coun Cave had previously said some town councillors were trying to find a way around him being appointed to the role.

He said: “I am pleased that it is has all been sorted out and has cleared up a few misunderstandings.

“It is a very proud moment for me. I was born in Padiham and have always been closely associated with Padiham.

“It is a non-political council and my politics have not encroached on what happens in Padiham. It has been easier than I expected to remain non-political in the past 12 months.”

Peter Pike, former Labour MP in Burnley, said: “I think it is unfortunate that we have councillors who represent the BNP and now I think it is unfortunate that we have a deputy mayor in Padiham who represents the BNP.

“But if they are elected on to a council then there is always a chance they could hold a mayoral title.”

It is not the first time this year that the role of mayor in Padiham has attracted controversy.

In January mayoress Carol Stinton appeared on Channel 4 reality show Come Dine With Me and attracted criticism for her over-exuberance.

Burnley Citizen