Labour's policy review chief has admitted some of his friends vote for the BNP and he understands their concerns, in a signal of how deep the effort in the Labour party to reconnect with the white working class goes.
Speaking to The Huffington Post UK at Labour's conference, Jon Cruddas said he associated with people who vote BNP, adding "I can understand a lot of my friends' concerns."
The MP for Dagenham, who has campaigned against the BNP in East London, was responding to a question about an interview in the Fabian Review, published this week, where he said: "I have mates who are BNP and UKIP and Tory. I don't surround myself with Labour members who have the same views as me."
But Cruddas told The Huffington Post UK while he was not misquoted, he disagreed with the BNP's politics.
"I have friends of mine who vote BNP," he said. "I think I said why I disagree with them."
The shadow cabinet member, who stood for the deputy leadership, has previously warned people will turn to the BNP as part of protest politics.
"The BNP thrive in areas where people feel forgotten by the mainstream parties. We have to mobilise ordinary decent people against the BNP, on the streets, in workplaces and in local communities," he told Metro.