‘We will fight them at the ballot box’: Unite launches anti-far right Euro campaign

Unite the Union has launched an advertising campaign against the far right ahead of the European elections taking place in the UK on Thursday.

The trade union aims to boost voter turnout this week with billboards reminding people to fight the far right at the ballot box in towns and cities across the North West of England.

Slogans such as ‘you have the power to stop the far right’ and, below a ballot paper cross, ‘this weapon destroys the far right’ feature on billboards in 44 locations, including Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Liverpool.

In one of the union’s biggest ever political campaigns, Unite has also taken out full-page adverts in the Liverpool Echo, Manchester Evening News and Metro newspapers, and plans to launch a major national Facebook campaign that could reach millions online.

The campaign launched this morning in Liverpool, where top figures from across the Labour Party including MPs Steve Rotherham, Lisa Nandy, Chris Matheson and Louise Ellman, plus MEPs Julie Ward and Theresa Griffin, gathered to unveil a giant ad van.

Commenting on the launch, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The only winners of a low turnout in this week’s European elections will be the likes of Yaxley-Lennon and those that seek to divide our communities.

“Don’t wonder ‘if only I had voted’ when the results are in. Make sure the tolerance and respect that runs through the communities of the North West is the winner by using your vote.

“Stop those seeking to use these elections to gain a platform to spread their message of fear and hate by getting out to vote to stop the far right and voting Labour this Thursday.”

Labour’s national European election has focussed on the message that only it can defeat figures such as Nigel Farage, whose Brexit Party is leading in the polls, and the English Defence League’s Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, otherwise known as Tommy Robinson, who is standing as an independent MEP candidate in the North West.

After a low turnout of 33% in the North West at the last European elections, Unite hopes that extra reminders to vote will help prevent results similar to the one in 2009 that saw former British National Party leader Nick Griffin get elected with 8% of the vote.

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