Gypsy campaigner to battle Howard at election

The National Gypsies and Travellers Affairs Association is to stand a candidate against Michael Howard in the general election in a bid to counter negative publicity about gypsies and travellers.

President Sylvia Dunn will stand as a parliamentary candidate in the Conservative leader's constituency of Folkstone and Hythe.

She hopes the move will boost awareness about the discrimination that gypsies suffer from councils, following proposals by Howard to make trespass by travellers a criminal offence.

The organisation will fight back against comments by Howard that 'the same rules should apply to everyone' by highlighting how gypsies are treated differently from 'settled communities' by local authorities.

'Gypsies work in all industries - the only thing we haven't got is someone in parliament,' Dunn added.

The association will hold open meetings where voters can meet Dunn. It will ask the public to get to know gypsies rather than 'relying on the Government'.

Dunn has campaigned for gypsy rights for nearly 50 years. She will use research showing that the cost for councils of evicting gypsies is higher than the cost of providing for them.

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