John Phillips | Thursday, 10 July 2008 Source: Barking and Dagenham Recorder
THE leader of Barking and Dagenham's BNP group has made a new outburst, this time against one of the borough's most respected clergymen.
Cllr Bob Bailey called Rev Roger Gayler, vicar of St Mark's, Rose Lane, Marks Gate, a fascist for getting involved in politics.
Mr Gayler took the unusual step of having 2,000 anti-BNP leaflets printed ahead of Thursday's council by-election in Chadwell Heath.
Cllr Bailey - who last month warned Barking College principal Ted Parker against hosting anti-racism events and before May's London Assembly elections, launched a tirade of abuse at Recorder staff - argued with the vicar three days before the by-election.
Mr Gayler, who received Barking and Dagenham's highest distinction, the Freedom of the Borough, last year, told the Recorder: "He said this is against the democratic process.
"I said, 'No, this is about the democratic process - we're all free to express our opinion'. Then he called me a fascist and threw the leaflet.
"I find it rather amazing he called me a fascist. I thought it was interesting. It shows, as far as I'm concerned, the man was rattled and what we were doing was reasonably effective."
Cllr Bailey said he had had a conversation with Mr Gayler on his doorstep and did not deny he had referred to him as "a fascist".
He told the Recorder: "He shouldn't interfere with politics. He should concentrate on what his church is there for, which is ministering to his people. There are enough people that need help, without delving into politics.