Labour today accused the BNP in Barking and Dagenham of being out of touch with public opinion when it comes to council plans to introduce a borough-wide alcohol control zone.
The plan, designed to combat drink related anti-social behaviour, which gives police the power to confiscate alcohol and force rowdy drinkers to dispose of booze in public places, was passed by the council at its assembly yesterday evening.
But BNP council group leader Bob Bailey opposed the plan claiming it was ‘taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut', making the Labour council ‘look like fascists.'
Responding, deputy council leader Bob Little said: "I'm astonished by the BNP. On their election leaflets they claim they will keep our streets safe, but when a measure comes forward to crack down on anti-social drinking on our streets, a measure to make our streets safer, they oppose it.
"If councillor Bailey thinks this is a sledgehammer to crack a nut, then it shows just how out of touch the BNP really are. Problem street drinking is a very real problem in Barking and Dagenham and the stats show it leads to drink related violence and crime.
"For the councillor apparently not to think this is a problem worth tackling, frankly, takes the breath away."
Councillor Jeannette Alexander, cabinet member for safer neighbourhoods and communities added:
"All the survey evidence shows, the vast majority of people who live in our borough, support this measure. Indeed it was concerned members of the public who lobbied our council to get borough-wide controls in place to end the public nuisance that results from drink related anti-social behaviour.
"I'm amazed councillor Bailey and his party aren't willing to support a measure that will make our streets safer. The BNP's opposition speaks volumes about their commitment to tackling crime."