British National Party
Overview
The British National Party (BNP) is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 far-right political party formed as a splinter group from the National Front by John Tyndall
John Tyndall (politician)
John Hutchyns Tyndall was a British politician who was prominently associated with several fascist/neo-Nazi sects. However, he is best known for leading the National Front in the 1970s and founding the contemporary British National Party in 1982.The most prominent figure in British nationalism...

 in 1982. It restricted membership to "indigenous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 British" people until 2010, after a legal challenge to its constitution.

The BNP advocates "firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home", as well as the repeal of anti-discrimination legislation.

The BNP finished fifth in the 2008 London mayoral election
London mayoral election, 2008
The London mayoral election, 2008 for the office of Mayor of London was held on 1 May 2008 and was won by Conservative Party candidate Boris Johnson....

 with 5.2% of the vote and secured one of the London Assembly
London Assembly
The London Assembly is an elected body, part of the Greater London Authority, that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds majority, to amend the mayor's annual budget. The assembly was established in 2000 and is headquartered at City Hall on the south...

's 25 seats.
Encyclopedia
The British National Party (BNP) is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 far-right political party formed as a splinter group from the National Front by John Tyndall
John Tyndall (politician)
John Hutchyns Tyndall was a British politician who was prominently associated with several fascist/neo-Nazi sects. However, he is best known for leading the National Front in the 1970s and founding the contemporary British National Party in 1982.The most prominent figure in British nationalism...

 in 1982. It restricted membership to "indigenous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 British" people until 2010, after a legal challenge to its constitution.

The BNP advocates "firm but voluntary incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home", as well as the repeal of anti-discrimination legislation.

The BNP finished fifth in the 2008 London mayoral election
London mayoral election, 2008
The London mayoral election, 2008 for the office of Mayor of London was held on 1 May 2008 and was won by Conservative Party candidate Boris Johnson....

 with 5.2% of the vote and secured one of the London Assembly
London Assembly
The London Assembly is an elected body, part of the Greater London Authority, that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds majority, to amend the mayor's annual budget. The assembly was established in 2000 and is headquartered at City Hall on the south...

's 25 seats. It won its first county council seats in 2009 and two seats in the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

. During the 2010 General Election, the BNP received 1.9% of the vote and failed to win any seats. The party's current leader, Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin
Nicholas John "Nick" Griffin is a British politician, chairman of the British National Party and Member of the European Parliament for North West England....

, is a former national organiser of the National Front.

Background, National Front outgrowth

The British National Party was founded in 1982 following a split within the National Front
British National Front
The National Front is a far right, white-only political party whose major political activities took place during the 1970s and 1980s. Its popularity peaked in the 1979 general election, when it received 191,719 votes ....

 (NF) two years previously.

The NF had organised marches in an attempt to further raise its profile. These sometimes led to violent clashes with political opponents. Left-wing groups set up the Anti-Nazi League
Anti-Nazi League
The Anti-Nazi League was an organisation set up in 1977 on the initiative of the Socialist Workers Party with sponsorship from some trade unions and the endorsement of a list of prominent people to oppose the rise of far-right groups in the United Kingdom. It was wound down in 1981...

 campaign against the NF. After a poor showing at the 1979 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1979
The United Kingdom general election of 1979 was held on 3 May 1979 to elect 635 members to the British House of Commons. The Conservative Party, led by Margaret Thatcher ousted the incumbent Labour government of James Callaghan with a parliamentary majority of 43 seats...

, internal factional division heightened within the NF. This culminated in chairman John Tyndall
John Tyndall (politician)
John Hutchyns Tyndall was a British politician who was prominently associated with several fascist/neo-Nazi sects. However, he is best known for leading the National Front in the 1970s and founding the contemporary British National Party in 1982.The most prominent figure in British nationalism...

 leaving the party in 1980, founding the New National Front, which became the BNP two years later. At its foundation, the party included a faction of the disintegrating British Movement
British Movement
The British Movement , later called the British National Socialist Movement , is a British neo-Nazi organisation founded by Colin Jordan in 1968. It grew out of the National Socialist Movement , which was founded in 1962...

.

Tyndall leadership, early years

According to Spearhead
Spearhead (magazine)
Spearhead was a British far right-wing magazine edited by John Tyndall until his death in July 2005. Founded in 1964 by Tyndall, it was used to voice his grievances against the state of the United Kingdom...

, a magazine produced by Tyndall, the split within the movement was not initially intended to be permanent.

During the 1983 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1983
The 1983 United Kingdom general election was held on 9 June 1983. It gave the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher the most decisive election victory since that of Labour in 1945...

, the new party fielded 53 candidates, enough to qualify for a televised party political broadcast
Party political broadcast
A party political broadcast is a short television or radio broadcast made by a political party....

. This featured chairman Tyndall, flanked by two British flags, and footage of the Brixton riot, a violent riot between predominantly black local residents and the police. All candidates combined, the BNP achieved only 14,621 votes in the general election, compared to the NF's 27,065. It was revealed afterwards that the BNP Deputy Chairman Ray Hill
Ray Hill
Ray Hill was a leading figure in the British far right who went on to become a well-known informant.Born in Lancashire, he spent three years in the army before making his first steps in the far right with the Racial Preservation Society in Leicester in the late 1960s...

 had been working as a mole on behalf of the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight
Searchlight (magazine)
Searchlight is a British anti-fascist magazine, founded in 1975 by Gerry Gable, which publishes exposés about racism, antisemitism, and fascism in the UK....

.

During the mid-1980s, the party began to develop friendly relations with organisations such as the NF Flag Group
Flag Group
The Flag Group was a British political party, formed from one of the two wings of the National Front in the 1980s. Formed in opposition to the Political Soldier wing of the Official National Front it took its name from The Flag, a newspaper the followers of this faction formed after leaving and...

and allegedly with the controversial Federation of Conservative Students
Federation of Conservative Students
The Federation of Conservative Students was the student organisation of the British Conservative Party from the late 1940s to 1986. It was created to act as a bridge between the student movement and the Conservative Party....

. The BNP also made contacts on the continent, particularly with Flemish nationalists of the radical Odal Group, which succeeded the Order of Flemish Militants.

In 1986, Tyndall was imprisoned for inciting racial hatred. While in prison, he wrote the part-autobiographical, part-political The Eleventh Hour. Richard Edmonds
Richard Edmonds
Richard Edmonds is a seasoned politician of British nationalism. A former Deputy Chairman and National Organiser of the British National Party, Richard was also a long-term supporter of John Tyndall.-Biography:...

 was the de facto leader of the BNP during this time.

A 1988 Sunday Times
The Sunday Times (UK)
The Sunday Times is a Sunday broadsheet newspaper, distributed in the United Kingdom. The Sunday Times is published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News International, which is in turn owned by News Corporation. Times Newspapers also owns The Times, but the two papers were founded...

 report revealed that BNP Deputy Chairman Richard Edmonds was involved with a newspaper called the "Holocaust" News, published by the Centre for Historical Review. The publication claimed that the Holocaust, as presented in state-sponsored accounts, was an elaborate, politically motivated hoax. It promoted instead the Leuchter Report
Leuchter report
The Leuchter report is a pseudoscientific document authored by American execution technician Fred A. Leuchter. For the defense in the trial of Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel, Leuchter compiled the report in 1988 with the intention of investigating the feasibility of mass homicidal gassings at Nazi...

, the Ball Report and the Rudolf Expertise.

Gains at local level, into the 1990s

The BNP mobilised 200 people for a "Rights for Whites" demonstration resulting in the 1989 Dewsbury race riot. The BNP claimed the demonstration was in support of white parents who withdrew their children from predominantly Muslim schools. Around this time, the party saw a popularity growth in east London and relocated its bookshop to a heavily fortified headquarters at Welling
Welling
Welling is a district in the London Borough of Bexley, South East London. It is a suburban development situated between Shooter's Hill and Bexleyheath north of the A2 road and 10.5 miles east south-east of Charing Cross.-History:...

. At the 1992 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1992
The United Kingdom general election of 1992 was held on 9 April 1992, and was the fourth consecutive victory for the Conservative Party. This election result was one of the biggest surprises in 20th Century politics, as polling leading up to the day of the election showed Labour under leader Neil...

, Tyndall and Lady Birdwood
Jane Birdwood
Jane Birdwood, Baroness Birdwood was the wife of Lord Birdwood and a political figure on the far right in the United Kingdom who took part in a number of movements.-Early life:...

 were noted candidates who unsuccessfully stood for election. Following this, BNP candidate Derek Beackon
Derek Beackon
Derek William Beackon is a former British National Party councillor.Beackon joined the BNP in 1986 as an associate member, becoming a full member two years later...

—a last minute replacement for Eddy Butler
Eddy Butler
Eddy Butler is a former National Elections Officer of the British National Party and was dubbed the party's "elections guru" by its newspaper, Voice of Freedom, until being suspended and expelled from the BNP in 2010 by Nick Griffin.Butler was originally the Tower Hamlets organiser for the...

—won the party its first local council seat in 1993 from Labour, during a local-by election for the Isle of Dogs
Isle of Dogs
The Isle of Dogs is a former island in the East End of London that is bounded on three sides by one of the largest meanders in the River Thames.-Etymology:...

, Tower Hamlets. The seat was fought on a "Rights for Whites" platform, in which it was alleged black families were being favoured in local housing initiatives.

In 1991, a security force made up of nationalists drawn from football casual firms was created to defend far-right activists, allegedly in response to a hammer attack at Kensington
Kensington
Kensington is a district of west and central London, England within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. An affluent and densely-populated area, its commercial heart is Kensington High Street, and it contains the well-known museum district of South Kensington.To the north, Kensington is...

 Library. The force firebombed the headquarters of the communist newspaper, the Morning Star, and by 1993 had transformed into the Neo-Nazi paramilitary organisation Combat 18
Combat 18
Combat 18 is a violent neo-Nazi organisation associated with Blood and Honour. It originated in the United Kingdom, but has since spread to other countries. Members of Combat 18 have been suspected in numerous deaths of immigrants, non-whites, and other C18 members...

. That same year, the BNP proscribed membership of the group and claimed it had been infiltrated by MI5
MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

. Nick Griffin, who later became BNP chairman, stated in Spearhead during 1999 that members of Combat 18 had been a faction of the British Movement
British Movement
The British Movement , later called the British National Socialist Movement , is a British neo-Nazi organisation founded by Colin Jordan in 1968. It grew out of the National Socialist Movement , which was founded in 1962...

 some years earlier, from which they were expelled, but never part of the BNP. He claimed that it had "been known for some years that MI5 encouraged or even ordered the setting up of C18 in order to disrupt and discredit the BNP after historic electoral success in Millwall in 1993", and also that The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

 had confirmed that Combat 18 was a state-sponsored "honeytrap" right from the start. It was revealed around this time that another Searchlight mole, Tim Hepple, had infiltrated the BNP, proving controversial in far-left circles, since he was the primary organiser of the Dewsbury incident in 1989. However, Hepple also worked as a Searchlight mole amongst the radical left as an "agent provocateur". According to author Larry O'Hara, Hepple attempted to get Green Anarchist
Green Anarchist
The magazine Green Anarchist was for a while the principal voice in the UK advocating green anarchism, an explicit fusion of libertarian socialist and ecological thinking.-Early years:...

 to publish works by radical nationalists, with the intention of publishing an expose in Searchlight that they were "working with fascists"—thus leaving them open to attack from all sides. This happened to Class War
Class War
Class War is a UK class struggle based group and newspaper originally set up by Ian Bone and others in 1983. It subsequently mutated various forms, becoming specifically anarchist....

.
Political opponents claimed that "racist incidents" occurred around the BNP's headquarters and instigated a "close down the BNP" march in October 1993. In 1995, Welling Council shut down the BNP headquarters.

The same year, relations were built up with William Luther Pierce
William Luther Pierce
William Luther Pierce III was the leader of the white separatist National Alliance organization, and one of the most important ideologists of the white nationalist movement. Pierce originally worked as an assistant professor of physics at Oregon State University, before he became involved in...

's US-based National Alliance. Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin
Nicholas John "Nick" Griffin is a British politician, chairman of the British National Party and Member of the European Parliament for North West England....

 joined the party in 1995 and Tyndall employed him to edit Spearhead. Griffin stated in The Rune that the Holocaust was a "mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter-day witch-hysteria". He was consequently prosecuted under the Public Order Act at the instigation of Alex Carlile
Alex Carlile, Baron Carlile of Berriew
Alexander Charles Carlile, Baron Carlile of Berriew, QC is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords.-Early life and career:...

 MP. During the 1997 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1997
The United Kingdom general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997, more than five years after the previous election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party ended its 18 years in opposition under the leadership of Tony Blair, and won the general...

 the BNP's highest results were in the East End of London
East End of London
The East End of London, also known simply as the East End, is the area of London, England, United Kingdom, east of the medieval walled City of London and north of the River Thames. Although not defined by universally accepted formal boundaries, the River Lea can be considered another boundary...

 and Canning Town
Canning Town
Canning Town is an area of east London, England. It is part of the London Borough of Newham and is situated in the area of the former London docks on the north side of the River Thames. It is the location of Rathbone Market...

.

Griffin leadership, identity nationalism

In October 1999, Nick Griffin, supported by Tony Lecomber
Tony Lecomber
Anthony "Tony" Mark Lecomber is a former Group Development Director for the British National Party.-Background:Lecomber has been active in far-right politics since the early 1980s...

, stood against Tyndall for leadership of the BNP. Griffin won and began modernising the party's image, though the crucial policy change from compulsory to voluntary repatriation
Repatriation
Repatriation is the process of returning a person back to one's place of origin or citizenship. This includes the process of returning refugees or soldiers to their place of origin following a war...

 had already been accomplished under Tyndall's leadership. Griffin moved the party from a focus on the status of Jews in Britain, to allowing Jews to stand for the party. A new monthly newspaper, The Voice of Freedom, was initiated, as well as a journal, Identity. During the 2001 general election
United Kingdom general election, 2001
The United Kingdom general election, 2001 was held on Thursday 7 June 2001 to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. It was dubbed "the quiet landslide" by the media, as the Labour Party was re-elected with another landslide result and only suffered a net loss of 6 seats...

, following the milltown riots
2001 England riots
In 2001, three unrelated riots occurred in England, these happened in localised areas of Oldham in May, the Manningham district of Bradford in June and the Harehills district of Leeds in July - all within forty miles of each other in central northern England....

, Oldham
Oldham
Oldham is a large town in Greater Manchester, England. It lies amid the Pennines on elevated ground between the rivers Irk and Medlock, south-southeast of Rochdale, and northeast of the city of Manchester...

 and Burnley
Burnley
Burnley is a market town in the Burnley borough of Lancashire, England, with a population of around 73,500. It lies north of Manchester and east of Preston, at the confluence of the River Calder and River Brun....

 polled highest for the BNP. Following 9/11 the BNP made further political capital.

At local level, the BNP continued to improve on its electoral results in 2002—03, gaining council seats in Blackburn, Calderdale
Calderdale
The Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale is a metropolitan borough of West Yorkshire, England, through which the upper part of the River Calder flows, and from which it takes its name...

 and Burnley, despite an extensive opposition campaign.

After the 2004 elections, the BBC and Searchlight created a documentary called The Secret Agent, featuring Jason Gwynne
Jason Gwynne
Jason Gwynne is a journalist, most widely known for his 2004 documentary on the British National Party . The documentary was based on undercover footage gathered by Gwynne who posed as a football hooligan looking to get involved in far-right politics.-External links:*...

 infiltrating the BNP. In it, Griffin and Mark Collett
Mark Collett
Mark Adrian Collett is a British political activist. He is a former chairman of the Young BNP, the youth division of the British National Party , and was Director of Publicity for the Party before being suspended from the party in early April 2010...

 made comments critical of Islam. Following the documentary, Barclays Bank froze the party's accounts. Collett and Griffin were acquitted on charges of incitement to racial hatred in 2006. The BNP branded the BBC "cockroaches".

Maureen Stowe, a successful BNP candidate in Burnley, left the party after being repelled by its racist nature. She told The Guardian, "I became a BNP councillor, like most people who voted for me, by believing their lies".

Following the 7/7
7 July 2005 London bombings
The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks in the United Kingdom, targeting civilians using London's public transport system during the morning rush hour....

 bombings in London, the BNP released fliers with the slogan; "maybe now it's time to start listening to the BNP". Griffin claimed that this was the "cost of voting Labour", attacking the government for bringing the United Kingdom into an "illegal" Iraq War and for its immigration policies. YouGov
YouGov
YouGov, formerly known as PollingPoint in the United States, is an international internet-based market research firm launched in the UK in May 2000 by Stephan Shakespeare, now Chief Executive Officer, and Nadhim Zahawi...

 claimed in 2006, that support for the party stood at up to 7%. Large gains were made in the 2006 local elections
United Kingdom local elections, 2006
Local government elections took place in England on Thursday 4 May 2006. Polling stations were open between 7:00 and 22:00.All London borough council seats were up for election, as well as a third of the seats on each of the metropolitan borough councils, and a third of some unitary authorities...

, where the BNP more than doubled its number of councillors and became the second party on the Barking and Dagenham council.

In February 2005, the party provoked controversy in denouncing a charity appeal following the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, calling it a "devious way to flood Britain with immigrants" and comparing the catastrophe to flooding in Cumbria
Cumbria
Cumbria , is a non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local authority, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's largest settlement and county town is Carlisle. It consists of six districts, and in...

 at the beginning of 2005, which claimed three lives.

The Guardians infiltration

In December 2006, it was revealed that a The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 journalist, Ian Cobain, had worked undercover in the BNP for seven months, becoming the party's central London organiser. Among the accusations made by the paper was that the BNP used "techniques of secrecy and deception ... in its attempt to conceal its activities and intentions from the public". It asserted that the BNP operated with a "network of false identities" and organised rendezvous points to allow members to be directed to "clandestine meetings". Party members were directed to avoid "any racist or anti-semitic language in public". Cobain also claimed that the membership in central London had expanded beyond the party's traditional range, now including "dozens of company directors, computing entrepreneurs, bankers and estate agents, and a handful of teachers".

Following the report, the campaign group Unite Against Fascism
Unite Against Fascism
Unite Against Fascism is an anti-fascist pressure group in the United Kingdom, with support from politicians of all mainstream UK political parties...

 called for ballerina Simone Clarke
Simone Clarke
Simone Clarke is an English ballerina and former Prima Ballerina of English National Ballet company. In 2006, she was the centre of controversy when it was revealed that she was a member of the British National Party...

 to be dismissed from the English National Ballet
English National Ballet
English National Ballet is a classical ballet company founded by Dame Alicia Markova and Sir Anton Dolin and based at Markova House in South Kensington, London, England. Along with the Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet, it is one of the four major ballet companies in Great...

, because her views on immigration were "incompatible with a leading arts institution such as the English National Ballet" and because she had "used her position to support a party which fosters division". Clarke said: "the BNP is the only party to take a stand against immigration".

The BNP was investigated by the Electoral Commission
Electoral Commission (United Kingdom)
The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. It regulates party and election finance and sets standards for well-run elections...

 in 2007, after The Guardian revealed that it had set up a front organisation to raise money from sympathisers in the United States.

2007 split

In 2007, three BNP councillors resigned. In Epping, Terry Farr resigned after suspension for writing abusive letters to Trevor Phillips
Trevor Phillips
Trevor Phillips OBE chairs the Equality and Human Rights Commission and is a former television executive and presenter...

. In Sandwell, James Lloyd was disqualified for not attending any meetings. In Blackburn, Robin Evans left the party and wrote a letter to his former colleagues denouncing it as a party of drug-dealers and football hooligans. Evans remains a councillor, describing himself as a "national socialist".

In late 2007, several BNP officials, including councillor Sadie Graham and head of administration Kenny Smith, had pressed for the expulsion of three senior officials—treasurer John Walker, his deputy Dave Hannam and director of publicity Mark Collett—who they accused of bringing the BNP into disrepute. The BNP later accused Graham and Smith of being "far left
Far left
Far left, also known as the revolutionary left, radical left and extreme left are terms which refer to the highest degree of leftist positions among left-wing politics...

" infiltrators. In December Graham and Smith launched a blog
Blog
A blog is a type of website or part of a website supposed to be updated with new content from time to time. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in...

 detailing their complaints against the trio. They were dismissed from their positions by Nick Griffin. During the ensuing dispute, members of BNP security seized a computer from Graham's home. Griffin claimed that they were recovering party property, while Graham claimed that it was her own. A number of BNP councillors later resigned the whip after Councillor Nina Brown claimed that BNP Security had misled her into giving them the key to Sadie Graham's home.

A number of BNP officials resigned in support of Smith and Graham, or were expelled. These included the head of the Young BNP. The BNP leadership said that the significance of the dispute was exaggerated and that it would quickly blow over. In late December 2007, the dissidents began to refer to themselves as the "Real BNP". They said that they would stay within the BNP and campaign for a change of leaders.

In January 2008, the group launched a new website called "Voice of Change", "an umbrella group to assist candidates who wish to stand as independent nationalists in the local elections in May 2008, and in any local by-elections throughout the year". They aimed to challenge Nick Griffin's leadership, calling him "tyrannical", "arrogant" and surrounded by "yes men".

The internal democracy of the BNP has been criticised by members for giving too much power to the chairman and for not being widely available for the membership to consult. In 2007, a leadership challenge to Griffin by Colin Auty and Colin Jackson resulted in resignations and expulsions among their supporters and 67 senior activists.

Question Time appearance

In 2009, Nick Griffin appeared on the BBC's Question Time
Question Time (TV series)
Question Time is a topical debate BBC television programme in the United Kingdom, based on Any Questions?. The show typically features politicians from at least the three major political parties as well as other public figures who answer questions put to them by the audience...

, amid significant public controversy.

2010 leadership challenge

Following the 2010 General Election, Nick Griffin announced that he would step down as leader in 2013. Three senior BNP members subsequently challenged Griffin for the leadership of the party. Having failed to secure enough support to trigger a leadership ballot, both Eddy Butler and Richard Barnbrook were expelled from the party some months later.

2011 Leadership election

Following disappointing election results in 2011, and a General Members Meeting which did away with the virtually insurmountable nominations' requirement for a leadership election, a leadership election
British National Party leadership election, 2011
The British National Party leadership election of 2011 was triggered on 28 June 2011 when the party attained a new constituton that required a leadership election to take place every four years. Two candidates stood in the leadership election: Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons...

 took place in 2011. Griffin was challenged by fellow MEP Andrew Brons
Andrew Brons
Andrew Henry William Brons is a British politician. Long active in far right politics in Britain, he was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber for the British National Party at the 2009 European Parliament election...

. Griffin secured a narrow controversial victory, beating Brons by nine votes out of a total of 2,316 votes cast in a bitter contest.

Structure

The chairman of the BNP has final say in all policy matters. 15 further members of the party leadership have responsibility for various areas of its operations. These executive positions work alongside an Advisory Council, the party's senior policy body, which meets at least three times a year. Its role is to "inspect the party's accounts, ensuring proper conduct of the party's finances, and to act as a forum for the party's leadership to discuss vital issues and carve out the party's agenda". The Trafalgar Club is the party's fundraising arm.

The party is organised around 12 regions, based upon the UK European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 constituencies, each with an organiser. The party also organises four groups that deal with specific areas of activity–Land and People (rural affairs), Pensioners' Awareness Group, the Friends of European Nationalism (a New Zealand-based organisation) and the Ethnic Liaison Committee, which co-ordinates work with non-whites. The BNP has 16 specifically official posts:
  • Chairman – Nick Griffin
    Nick Griffin
    Nicholas John "Nick" Griffin is a British politician, chairman of the British National Party and Member of the European Parliament for North West England....

  • Deputy Chairman – vacant
  • Director of Administration – vacant
  • National Treasurer – Clive Jefferson
  • National Organiser - Adam Walker
  • National Media spokesman - Simon Darby
    Simon Darby
    Simon Darby is a British politician and former Deputy Chairman of the British National Party.-Background:By occupation a computer communications consultant, Darby began his political career in the National Democrats, most of whose activity was centred around his West Midlands base...

  • Legal Director – vacant
  • Editor of Identity – John Bean
    John Bean
    John Edward Bean is a long-standing participant in the British far right, who has been active within a number of movements during the course of his life and is the voice behind the BNP election broadcasts.-Early life:...

  • Editor of Voice of Freedom – Martin Wingfield
    Martin Wingfield
    Martin Wingfield is a long-standing figure on the far right in British politics. He and his wife, Tina WIngfield, have contested several elections.-National Front:...

  • Head of Publicity – vacant
  • Head of the party's 18-30 group 'Resistance' – Kieren Trent


Arthur Kemp
Arthur Kemp
Arthur Benjamin Kemp is a prominent British white separatist, writer, speaker, activist and political figure who has been the Foreign Affairs Spokesperson for the British National Party and was responsible for the content of that party's website. He was born in Southern Rhodesia and worked as a...

 was head of the BNP's education and training department, Adivsory Council member, editor of the BNP's website and foreign affairs spokesman but resigned from all positions due to financial disputes.

Political tendency

It has been claimed that the BNP has, since its foundation, been fascist. The party's predecessor, the NF, was overtly fascist, incorporating nationalism, racism, and antisemitism into its core ideology. This ideology was taken up by the newly formed BNP. Founder John Tyndall proclaimed: "Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf is a book written by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's political ideology. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926...

 is my bible". Piero Ignazi has said that the "proto-Nazi" mould of the NF, and the "generalised nostalgia for all sorts of fascist tendencies" and association with "foreign ideologies", which continued under the BNP, accounted for the lack of success for both parties in comparison to successful far-right parties in Europe, which disavowed traditional fascism.

The Daily Mirror has described the party's MEP
Member of the European Parliament
A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

s as "vile prophets who preach a Nazi-style doctrine of racial hatred". An editorial in The Guardian characterises the BNP as "a racist organisation with a fascist pedigree". Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

 leader Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg
Nicholas William Peter "Nick" Clegg is a British Liberal Democrat politician who is currently the Deputy Prime Minister, Lord President of the Council and Minister for Constitutional and Political Reform in the coalition government of which David Cameron is the Prime Minister...

 has described the BNP as "a party of thugs, fascists". According to David Cameron
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

: "If you vote for the BNP you are voting for a bunch of fascists... They dress up in a suit and knock on your door in a nice way but they are still Nazi thugs." Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson
Alan Arthur Johnson is a British Labour Party politician who served as Home Secretary from June 2009 to May 2010. Before that, he filled a wide variety of cabinet positions in both the Blair and Brown governments, including Health Secretary and Education Secretary. Until 20 January 2011 he was...

 said: "These people believe in the things that the fascists believed in the second world war, they believe in what the National Front believe in. They believe in the purity of the Aryan race. It is a foul and despicable party and however they change their constitution they will remain foul and despicable." Peter Hain
Peter Hain
Peter Gerald Hain is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for the Welsh constituency of Neath since 1991, and has served in the Cabinets of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, firstly as Leader of the House of Commons under Blair and both Secretary of State for...

 describes the BNP as "a racist organisation with known fascist roots and values" and wrote about its "racist and fascist agenda".

The BNP denies that it is fascist and claims that opposition parties are trying to "prevent freedom of speech". Griffin has said that such accusations are "a smear that comes from the far left." He has also said that "he actually 'detested' fascism".

Political scientists see the party as fascist and say that it has attempted to hide its true nature in order to attract popular support. Nigel Copsey examined the party's 2005 General Election manifesto Rebuilding British Democracy and concluded that it was a recalibration of fascism rather than a fundamental break with it.

Historian Richard Overy has said that "Fascism with a capital F" was strictly a movement of the past. According to David Stevenson, "the BNP is different in style and structure from fascism in the 1930s" saying that although they do not wear uniforms they still count "bully boys" among their membership.

It has also been suggested that the BNP represents a hybrid movement containing elements of Neo-fascism
Neo-Fascism
Neo-fascism is a post–World War II ideology that includes significant elements of fascism. The term neo-fascist may apply to groups that express a specific admiration for Benito Mussolini and Italian Fascism or any other fascist leader/state...

 and anti-immigrant
Opposition to immigration
Opposition to immigration is present in most nation-states with immigration, and has become a significant political issue in many countries. Immigration in the modern sense refers to movement of people from one nation-state to another, where they are not citizens. It is important to distinguish...

 themes.

Economic policy

The economic policy of the party has developed over time. In the 1990s, the party reflected protectionism
Protectionism
Protectionism is the economic policy of restraining trade between states through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, restrictive quotas, and a variety of other government regulations designed to allow "fair competition" between imports and goods and services produced domestically.This...

 and economic nationalism
Economic nationalism
Economic nationalism is a term used to describe policies which emphasize domestic control of the economy, labor and capital formation, even if this requires the imposition of tariffs and other restrictions on the movement of labor, goods and capital. It opposes globalization in many cases, or at...

, although in comparison with other radical nationalist parties, the BNP focuses less on corporatism
Corporatism
Corporatism, also known as corporativism, is a system of economic, political, or social organization that involves association of the people of society into corporate groups, such as agricultural, business, ethnic, labor, military, patronage, or scientific affiliations, on the basis of common...

. It has called for British ownership of its own industries and resources and the "subordination of the power of the City to the power of the government". It has promoted the regeneration of farming in the United Kingdom, with the object of achieving maximum self-sufficiency
Self-sufficiency
Self-sufficiency refers to the state of not requiring any outside aid, support, or interaction, for survival; it is therefore a type of personal or collective autonomy...

 in food production. It has advocated ending overseas aid in order to provide aid within the UK and to finance the repatriation of immigrants. In 2002, the party criticised corporatism as a "mixture of big capitalism and state control", saying it favoured a "distributionist
Distributism
Distributism is a third-way economic philosophy formulated by such Catholic thinkers as G. K...

 tradition established by home-grown thinkers" favouring small business. In its 2005 manifesto, the BNP opposed "globalism
Globalism
Globalism can have at least two different and opposing meanings. One meaning is the attitude or policy of placing the interests of the entire world above those of individual nations...

, international socialism, laissez-faire capitalism and economic liberalism
Economic liberalism
Economic liberalism is the ideological belief in giving all people economic freedom, and as such granting people with more basis to control their own lives and make their own mistakes. It is an economic philosophy that supports and promotes individual liberty and choice in economic matters and...

". The BNP rejects the notion of Thatcherism
Thatcherism
Thatcherism describes the conviction politics, economic and social policy, and political style of the British Conservative politician Margaret Thatcher, who was leader of her party from 1975 to 1990...

 and "submitting to the dictates of the international marketplace" which "has no loyalty to this country". The BNP has claimed that it is possible for a national economy to thrive outside of the laissez-faire
Laissez-faire
In economics, laissez-faire describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies....

 model, pointing to 21st century examples such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore. The BNP claims that, while immigration increases the aggregate GNP
Aggregate income
Aggregate income is the combined income earned by an entire group of persons. 'Aggregate income' in economics is a broad conceptual term. It may express the proceeds from total output in the economy for producers of that output. One such measure of it is National Income in the National Income and...

 by providing cheap labour, it decreases the per-capita GNP
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

, which the BNP claims is most representative of the economic well-being of British people.

The party says that "old-style socialist methods" of tax and spend "turned out to have harmful effects" and it would instead seek "non-destructive means to reduce income inequality". Central to the BNP's economic policies are greater share ownership and the establishment of worker co-operatives
Worker cooperative
A worker cooperative is a cooperative owned and democratically managed by its worker-owners. This control may be exercised in a number of ways. A cooperative enterprise may mean a firm where every worker-owner participates in decision making in a democratic fashion, or it may refer to one in which...

. The party advocates the provision of extra resources for "especially gifted children" and the reversal of closures of special needs schools.

In the BNP 2010 Manifesto (pp. 8–10) some of their key economic policies are summed up as follows:
  • The BNP will forbid the development and importation of genetically modified produce.
  • The BNP would support local economies by creating a national network of autonomous credit unions.
  • The BNP will ensure that globalist corporations pay their fair share of the tax burden.
  • The BNP will charge foreign trucks for the right to use Britain’s road network, as other European nations already do.
  • A BNP government would tackle the national debt problem by cutting expenditure on all projects which do not serve British interests.

European Union

The British National Party are Eurosceptics
Euroscepticism
Euroscepticism is a general term used to describe criticism of the European Union , and opposition to the process of European integration, existing throughout the political spectrum. Traditionally, the main source of euroscepticism has been the notion that integration weakens the nation state...

, who wish to move towards a greater national self-sufficiency. According to the BNP 2010 Manifesto (p. 27): "The BNP demands an immediate withdrawal from the European Union, which is an organisation dedicated to usurping British sovereignty and to destroying our nationhood and national identity".

Social and cultural policy

Some key social and cultural policies of the British National Party are summed up below from their most recent Manifesto:
  • The BNP rejects ID cards as an undesirable representation of the surveillance society.
  • The BNP will oppose the intrusion of non-British and alien cultural influences which undermine our traditional value systems.
  • The BNP will enact legislation to ensure that pensions are eligible only to Britons and those who have fully paid into the system.
  • The BNP will introduce a new Bill of Rights which will guarantee certain basic civil liberties.
  • The BNP will encourage the teaching of British history, culture and traditions at schools.
  • The BNP will introduce formal bank holidays for all of our nations’ patron saints
  • The BNP will ensure that the National Health Service is used to serve British people and not used as an International Health Service.
  • The BNP will repeal the 1998 Human Rights Act and withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, both of which are exploited to abuse Britain’s hospitality by the world’s scroungers.
  • The BNP will ensure that appropriate areas of public life, including school assemblies, are based on a commitment to the values of traditional Western Christianity, as a benchmark for a decent and civilised society.


In 2005 the BNP proposed to reintroduce compulsory National Service
National service
National service is a common name for mandatory government service programmes . The term became common British usage during and for some years following the Second World War. Many young people spent one or more years in such programmes...

 for the young and proposed that men should keep a rifle and ammunition in their homes. In their 2010 Manifesto, the BNP have expanded on their policy of National Service, claiming the youths who take National Service will subsequently be funded for their University or further education: "On satisfactory completion of their period of National Service, all suitably qualified youngsters will become eligible to receive a fully funded university education. The less academically qualified will be entitled to paid apprenticeships or training."

A further BNP policy is "to end the conflict in Ireland by welcoming Eire as well as Ulster as equal partners in a federation of the nations of the British Isles".

Crime

The BNP advocates capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

 for "drug dealers, child murderers, multiple murderers, murderers of policemen on duty and terrorists where guilt is proven beyond all doubt". Other key BNP policies on crime include:
  • The BNP will abolish political correctness from the police service in favour of real crime fighting.
  • The BNP will establish a penal station for hardened and repeat criminals on the British island of South Georgia.
  • The BNP will reintroduce the right of householders to defend themselves and their property using whatever means they deem necessary.

Animal welfare

The party says it supports animal welfare (such as the banning of Halal
Halal
Halal is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law...

 and Kosher slaughtering and the phasing out of factory farming). Nick Griffin and other BNP members attended the 'Liberty & Livelihood' march organised by the pro-hunting Countryside Alliance
Countryside Alliance
The Countryside Alliance is a British organisation promoting issues relating to the countryside such as country sports, including hunting, shooting and angling...

 in 2002.

Immigration

Since its formation the British National Party has staunchly opposed immigration. The BNP argues that: "To ensure that we do not become a minority in our own homeland, and that the native British peoples of our Islands retain their culture and identity, we call for an immediate halt to all further immigration." Under the leadership of John Tyndall
John Tyndall (politician)
John Hutchyns Tyndall was a British politician who was prominently associated with several fascist/neo-Nazi sects. However, he is best known for leading the National Front in the 1970s and founding the contemporary British National Party in 1982.The most prominent figure in British nationalism...

 the party advocated total repatriation for all ethnic minorities. When Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin
Nicholas John "Nick" Griffin is a British politician, chairman of the British National Party and Member of the European Parliament for North West England....

 became chairman in 1999, the BNP changed their total repatriation
Repatriation
Repatriation is the process of returning a person back to one's place of origin or citizenship. This includes the process of returning refugees or soldiers to their place of origin following a war...

 policy to only voluntary, a key policy which remains to date, offering financial "incentives for immigrants and their descendants to return home." The party maintains that ethnic minorities legally in Britain are entitled to stay as long as they always remain the minority population demographically:
  • The BNP recognises the right of legally settled and law-abiding minorities to remain in the UK and enjoy the full protection of the law, on the understanding that the indigenous population of Britain has the right to remain the majority population of our nation.


In their 2010 Manifesto (p. 30) the BNP argues that Islamic immigration must be "halted and reversed as it presents one of the most deadly threats yet to the survival of our nation". Furthermore their policy is also to "deport all foreigners convicted of crimes in Britain, regardless of their immigration status" as well as deport illegal immigrants and "reject all asylum seekers who passed safe countries on their way to Britain".

British Army immigrant issue

It has been claimed that the BNP is opposed to allowing British Army Gurkhas the right of settlement in the United Kingdom. In 2009, Nick Griffin said: "We don't think the most overcrowded country in Europe, can realistically say, 'Look, you can all come and all your relatives'...When the Gurkhas signed up—frankly as mercenaries—they expected a pension which would allow them to live well in their own country". Later, he said that if he could swap "100,000 members of the Muslim community, who say that they support al Qaeda" for the Gurkhas it "would be a good exchange". Nick Griffin has described the commentary about his party's polices on the Gurkhas as "lies", stating the party has “never before even debated this issue”. He added, “...A BNP government would look far more sympathetically on the plight of the Gurkhas than the current Labour government.”

Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lumley
Joanna Lamond Lumley, OBE, FRGS is a British actress, voice-over artist, former-model and author, best known for her roles in British television series Absolutely Fabulous portraying Edina Monsoon's best friend, Patsy Stone, as well as parts in The New Avengers, Sapphire & Steel, and Sensitive...

, a campaigner for the Ghurka's right of settlement, spoke to The Sun
The Sun (newspaper)
The Sun is a daily national tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and owned by News Corporation. Sister editions are published in Glasgow and Dublin...

 condemning a leaflet allegedly distributed by BNP candidate Adam Walker attacking her campaign and with a picture of a dead Gurkha soldier crossed out. The Sun later retracted the allegation, saying that neither the BNP nor Walker were responsible for the leaflet.

On 17 May 2009, The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

 wrote that the BNP's leader, Nick Griffin, had branded Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry VC
Johnson Beharry
Lance Corporal Johnson Gideon Beharry VC of the 1st Battalion, Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, is a British Army soldier who, on 18 March 2005, was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest military decoration for valour in the British and Commonwealth armed forces, for twice saving members of...

, a black recipient of the Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
The Victoria Cross is the highest military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of the armed forces of various Commonwealth countries, and previous British Empire territories....

, an "immigrant" whose bravery was simply "routine". The Telegraph quoted the BNP website as calling Beharry's award of the Victoria Cross "positive discrimination by the PC
Political correctness
Political correctness is a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts,...

-mad government". Beharry was awarded the Victoria Cross in 2005 for action in Iraq, when he returned to his burning armoured personnel carrier three times, under sustained enemy fire, to lift his wounded comrades from the vehicle. The BNP claimed: "All he did was drive away very fast from a combat zone."

Race

The British National Party has changed its stance on race. During the leadership of Tyndall, the party firmly supported white nationalism
White nationalism
White nationalism is a political ideology which advocates a racial definition of national identity for white people. White separatism and white supremacism are subgroups within white nationalism. The former seek a separate white nation state, while the latter add ideas from social Darwinism and...

 and the BNP 1997 Manifesto thus called for Britain to be made "once again a white country" through a total repatriation programme for all ethnic minorities. The BNP's 1992 General Election manifesto said that the party had "no quarrel with the ordinary Jew who goes about his own business and does not attempt to influence national affairs in the interests of his racial group", but was opposed to Jewish people "whose activities in pursuit of the interests of their own co-racialists here and around the world can sometimes bring them into conflict with British interests". In 1990, the BNP under Tyndall was described by the European Parliament's
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 committee on racism and xenophobia as an "openly Nazi party ..." In 1993, the party's deputy leader Richard Edmonds
Richard Edmonds
Richard Edmonds is a seasoned politician of British nationalism. A former Deputy Chairman and National Organiser of the British National Party, Richard was also a long-term supporter of John Tyndall.-Biography:...

 said, "We are 100 per cent racist". However, under the leadership of Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin
Nicholas John "Nick" Griffin is a British politician, chairman of the British National Party and Member of the European Parliament for North West England....

, from 1999, the party began to radically change its stance on race issues. Writing in the party's newspaper, The Voice of Freedom, Nick Griffin wrote an article entitled "The BNP and Race" in 2001 to clarify that the "The BNP is no longer a genuine White Racial Nationalist party" and that:
The BNP under Griffin espouses "ethno-nationalism
Ethnic nationalism
Ethnic nationalism is a form of nationalism wherein the "nation" is defined in terms of ethnicity. Whatever specific ethnicity is involved, ethnic nationalism always includes some element of descent from previous generations and the implied claim of ethnic essentialism, i.e...

" based on "concern for the well-being of the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish ethnic nations that compose the United Kingdom". According to Griffin, regarding the BNP's racial views in 2004: "we don't hate black people, we don't hate asians, we don't oppose any ethnic group for what God made them, they have a right to their own identity as such as we do, all we want to do is to preserve the ethnic and cultural identity of the British people." Scholars of political science have noted this change in racial ideology and consider it to be ethnopluralism
Ethnopluralism
Ethnopluralism or ethno-pluralism is a European New Right theory of multiculturalism which contrasts with liberal multiculturalism."Cultural differentialism" is the view that cultures are clearly bound entities with a specific geographical location...

 or 'differentialism' (racial realism
Racial realism
Racial realism is a view held by some political groups and individuals which holds that racial divisions of humans are based in biological reality, and that racial distinctions are enduringly important because racial groups differ genetically with regard to such important behavioral tendencies as...

), influenced by the European New Right. Speaking on the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's Andrew Marr Show in 2009, Nick Griffin declared that the BNP "does not want all-white UK" because "Nobody out there wants it or would pay for it" and that the claims he was a fascist were smears.

In 2010, the party changed its constitution which had restricted membership to "indigenous British" people.

The party has stated that it does not oppose the Jewish, Hindu or Sikh religions but does not accept practising Sikhs or Hindus as ethnically British since they are not indigenous. The BNP sums up its views on non-indigenous British as follows:
  • The British National Party...recognises pro-British members of assimilated minorities as British in a civic sense, and welcomes their contribution to our fight for fair play for, and the future survival of, the indigenous peoples of these islands.

  • But we absolutely reject the poisonous, Politically Correct, anti-indigenous fiction that they are English, or Scottish, or Welsh, or Irish. They may well be very decent people, but if any of us went to Nigeria or Afghanistan, no-one would dream of pretending that we were Nigerians or Afghans.


The BNP is opposed to mixed-race relationships because "when whites take partners from other ethnic groups, a white family line that stretches back into deep pre-history is destroyed." Nick Griffin has also stated: "...while the BNP is not racist, it must not become multi-racist either. Our fundamental determination to secure a future for white children is restated, and an area of uncertainty is addressed and a position which is both principled and politically realistic is firmly established. We don't hate anyone, especially the mixed race children who are the most tragic victims of enforced multi-racism, but that does not mean that we accept miscegenation
Miscegenation
Miscegenation is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, and procreation....

 as moral or normal. We do not and we never will." However despite this, the BNP has a minority of members who are involved in mixed-marriages.

The BNP supported University of Leeds
University of Leeds
The University of Leeds is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England...

 lecturer Dr. Frank Ellis, who was suspended after stating that the Bell Curve theory
The Bell Curve
The Bell Curve is a best-selling and controversial 1994 book by the Harvard psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein and political scientist Charles Murray...

 "has demonstrated to me beyond any reasonable doubt there is a persistent gap in average black and white average intelligence". Ellis called the BNP "a bit too socialist" for his liking and described himself as "an unrepentant Powellite
Powellism
Powellism is the name given to the political views of Conservative and Ulster Unionist politician Enoch Powell, which derive from his High Tory and libertarian outlook.- Overview :...

" who would support "humane" repatriation.

In 2006, Sky News
Sky News
Sky News is a 24-hour British and international satellite television news broadcaster with an emphasis on UK and international news stories.The service places emphasis on rolling news, including the latest breaking news. Sky News also hosts localised versions of the channel in Australia and in New...

 confronted the party's national press officer, Phil Edwards (real name Stuart Russell), with a tape of a telephone conversation in which he said that "the black kids are going to grow up dysfunctional, low IQ, low achievers that drain our welfare benefits and the prison system and probably go and mug you." He responded: "If I thought I was going to be recorded ... I would not have used such intemperate language, but let’s be honest about it, the facts are there."

In recent years the BNP has established connections to nationalists in Japan, and in 2010 BNP staff manager Adam Walker attended an international far-right conference.

Support from ethnic minorities

The BNP under Griffin's leadership has worked with extremists from the Sikh and Hindu communities on anti-Muslim campaigns from 2001 and has also actively tried to win Jewish votes. When the party changed its constitution on membership which allowed ethnic minorities to join, a 78 year old Sikh, Rajinder Singh, became the first Asian member. In 2010, Reverend James Gitau joined the BNP and became its first black member claiming he only joined because it "was the only party that boldly speaks against sodomy in public"; however, he left the party a week later when he was not nominated to stand for Croydon Central
Croydon Central (UK Parliament constituency)
The comparison is with the notional 2005 result for the new boundaries which made Croydon Central a Labour defence.-Elections in the 2000s:-Elections in the 1990s:- Notes and references :...

 and instead joined and stood as a Christian Party candidate.

The BNP has also fielded a small number of ethnic minority candidates and has an elected Jewish councillor, Patricia Richardson
Patricia Richardson (politician)
Patricia Feldman Richardson is a British politician, most notable as the British National Party’s first ethnically Jewish candidate, though she does not practise Judaism. Richardson says the party is not anti-Semitic or racist...

. Formerly, the party also had a half-Turkish Cypriot, half-English councillor, Lawrence Rustem
Lawrence Rustem
Lawrence Rustem, has been active in the BNP since 1991 and was the Chairman of the "Ethnic Liaison Committee" of the British National Party, a group set up in 2001 to co-ordinate work between the party and non-British people with similar aims. Rustem is half English and half Turkish Cypriot.He...

. In 2006, Sharif Abdel Gawad, partly Armenian and Greek, was chosen as a council candidate in Bradford
Bradford
Bradford lies at the heart of the City of Bradford, a metropolitan borough of West Yorkshire, in Northern England. It is situated in the foothills of the Pennines, west of Leeds, and northwest of Wakefield. Bradford became a municipal borough in 1847, and received its charter as a city in 1897...

. Sharon Ebanks
Sharon Ebanks
Sharon Ebanks is a former member of the British National Party and one of the founder members of the New Nationalist Party.-BNP activism:...

, the BNP's first councillor in Birmingham, has denied claims made by her stepmother that she is of mixed race.

Criticism of Islam

The party states that it "has moved on in recent years, casting off the leg-irons of conspiracy theories and the thinly veiled anti-semitism which has held this party back for two decades. The real enemies of the British people are home grown Anglo-Saxon Celtic liberal-leftists ... and the Crescent Horde—the endless wave of Islamics who are flocking to our shores to bring our island nations into the embrace of their barbaric desert religion".

Consequently, the party has shifted allegiance in conflicts involving Israel. Its head of legal affairs, Lee Barnes, wrote on the party's website about the 2006 Lebanon War: "As a Nationalist I can say that I support Israel 100% in their dispute with Hezbollah. In fact, I hope they wipe Hezbollah off the Lebanese map and bomb them until they leave large greasy craters in the cities where their Islamic extremist cantons of terror once stood." In 2009, Griffin stated: "I have brought the British National party from the frankly an anti-semitic and racist organisation, into the only party which in the clashes between Israel and Gaza supported Israel's right to deal with Hamas terrorists."

Griffin has said that this shift in emphasis is designed to increase the party's appeal: "We should be positioning ourselves to take advantage for our own political ends of the growing wave of public hostility to Islam currently being whipped up by the mass media". In a speech to local party activists in 2006, he said:
Suggested policies to deal with the threat from Islam include a ban on Muslims flying in and out of the UK. The BNP erected a plaque in Oldham
Oldham
Oldham is a large town in Greater Manchester, England. It lies amid the Pennines on elevated ground between the rivers Irk and Medlock, south-southeast of Rochdale, and northeast of the city of Manchester...

 in memory of a 19-year-old white man who was killed by Asian Muslims in February 2002. The plaque was later removed by the local council.

Family

The British National Party promotes familialism
Familialism
Familialism is an ideology that promotes the family of the Western tradition as an institution. Familialism views the nuclear family of one father, one mother, and their child or children as the central and primary social unit of human ordering and the principal unit of a functioning society and...

 and supports the nuclear family
Nuclear family
Nuclear family is a term used to define a family group consisting of a father and mother and their children. This is in contrast to the smaller single-parent family, and to the larger extended family. Nuclear families typically center on a married couple, but not always; the nuclear family may have...

 of Western tradition
Western culture
Western culture, sometimes equated with Western civilization or European civilization, refers to cultures of European origin and is used very broadly to refer to a heritage of social norms, ethical values, traditional customs, religious beliefs, political systems, and specific artifacts and...

, as well as favouring traditional roles for women and men. The 1992 BNP Manifesto thus asserts their belief that although women and men should be treated equal, women should "regard home-and family-making as the highest vocation for their sex" before their jobs or career. In September 2011, scholar Matthew Goodwin, an expert in electoral behaviour at the University of Nottingham has claimed in an article that: "particular members of the BNP" feel as though there has been a "substantial decline in family values" under the leadership of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. In the United Kingdom local elections, 2004
United Kingdom local elections, 2004
The United Kingdom local elections of 2004 were held on 10 June, as part of the 2004 set of elections along with the European elections and the London mayoral and Assembly elections.-About the elections:...

, the BNP stood 80 female candidates promoting the BNP's "family values" policy.

The BNP 2010 Manifesto also declares their wish to promote traditional concepts of civility and courteousness in schools.

Opposition to abortion

The BNP wish to "encourage a responsible approach to family life, and to reverse the dangerous downturn in the birth rate". The BNP opposes abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

, and in 2007 worked on a campaign with the UK Life League
UK Life League
UK Life League is a British pressure group that opposes abortion. It describes itself as "The premier pro-life and family values campaigning organisation" and as "peacefully campaigning to end the violence of abortion"....

, an anti-abortion lobby group.

Opposition to homosexuality

The BNP states that homosexuality in private should be tolerated but believes that it "should not be promoted or encouraged". It is opposed to civil partnerships and wishes to ban what it perceives as the promotion of homosexuality in schools and the media. It proposes that homosexuality should be returned "to the closet".

BNP spokesman Phil Edwards stated that homosexuality "is unnatural" and "does not lead to procreation but does lead to moral turpitude and disease". Mark Collett
Mark Collett
Mark Adrian Collett is a British political activist. He is a former chairman of the Young BNP, the youth division of the British National Party , and was Director of Publicity for the Party before being suspended from the party in early April 2010...

, former Director of Publicity for the party, has described homosexuals as "AIDS Monkeys", "bum bandits" and "faggots", saying the idea of homosexuality was a "sickening thought".

In the run-up to the 2005 general election, it was reported that Richard Barnbrook
Richard Barnbrook
Richard John Barnbrook is a British politician and member of the London Assembly. Having been elected as a British National Party candidate, he resigned the BNP whip in August 2010. Barnbrook was a councillor, and leader , then deputy leader , of the BNP group on Barking and Dagenham London...

, the BNP candidate for Barking, had produced a homoerotic student art film in 1989. Barnbrook and the BNP claimed that the film was artistic and about "sexuality, not homosexuality".

The BNP was criticised over a web article titled, "Liars, buggers and thieves", which grouped several gay politicians in with convicted murderers, rapists and paedophiles. The author, BNP councillor Julian Leppert, defended it and said that the reason why gay MPs were included was because, "it fits in with the headline, the bugger part, I guess", and stated that the BNP are "a family party with family values".

It has been alleged that Nick Griffin had a four year homosexual relationship with Martin Webster
Martin Webster
Martin Guy Alan Webster is a former leading figure on the far-right in British politics.-Early political activism:An early member of the Young Conservatives, from which he claimed to have been expelled, Webster was associated loosely with the League of Empire Loyalists until he joined the National...

, although Griffin denies this. In 2009, he said: "a lot of people find the sight of two grown men kissing in public really creepy. I understand that homosexuals don't understand that but that's how a lot of us feel."

County and district councillors

The British National Party once had over 50 elected County and District councillors (55 in 2008, and 58 in 2009) but lost many of these seats in the 2010
United Kingdom local elections, 2010
The 2010 United Kingdom local elections were held on Thursday 6 May 2010, when the 2010 general election also took place. Direct elections were held to all 32 London boroughs, all 36 metropolitan boroughs, 76 second-tier district authorities, 20 unitary authorities and various Mayoral posts, all in...

 and 2011
United Kingdom local elections, 2011
The 2011 United Kingdom local elections were held on Thursday 5 May 2011. In England, direct elections were held in all 36 Metropolitan boroughs, 194 Second-tier district authorities, 49 unitary authorities and various mayoral posts, meaning local elections took place in all parts of England with...

 local elections, and a few through defections and resignations. As of October 2011, the BNP has 8 councillors, one of whom was re-elected during the 2011 local elections
United Kingdom local elections, 2011
The 2011 United Kingdom local elections were held on Thursday 5 May 2011. In England, direct elections were held in all 36 Metropolitan boroughs, 194 Second-tier district authorities, 49 unitary authorities and various mayoral posts, meaning local elections took place in all parts of England with...

.

Parish and town councillors

The BNP recently have encouraged candidates to stand in Parish and Town Council elections, since many seats can be won uncontested. In the 2011 local elections
United Kingdom local elections, 2011
The 2011 United Kingdom local elections were held on Thursday 5 May 2011. In England, direct elections were held in all 36 Metropolitan boroughs, 194 Second-tier district authorities, 49 unitary authorities and various mayoral posts, meaning local elections took place in all parts of England with...

 the party picked up over a dozen or more uncontested seats at the Parish level. There are currently between 60 - 80 BNP Parish or Town councillors.

Electoral performance

The BNP has contested seats in England, Wales and Scotland. In January 2011 the party registered in Northern Ireland.

General election performance

The British National Party has contested general elections since 1983.
Year Number of Candidates Number of MPs Percentage of vote Total votes Change (percentage points) Average votes per candidate
1983
United Kingdom general election, 1983
The 1983 United Kingdom general election was held on 9 June 1983. It gave the Conservative Party under Margaret Thatcher the most decisive election victory since that of Labour in 1945...

54 0 0.0 14,621 N/A 271
1987
United Kingdom general election, 1987
The United Kingdom general election of 1987 was held on 11 June 1987, to elect 650 members to the British House of Commons. The election was the third consecutive election victory for the Conservative Party under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, who became the first Prime Minister since the 2nd...

2 0 0.0 563 0.0 282
1992
United Kingdom general election, 1992
The United Kingdom general election of 1992 was held on 9 April 1992, and was the fourth consecutive victory for the Conservative Party. This election result was one of the biggest surprises in 20th Century politics, as polling leading up to the day of the election showed Labour under leader Neil...

13 0 0.1 7,631 +0.1 587
1997
United Kingdom general election, 1997
The United Kingdom general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997, more than five years after the previous election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party ended its 18 years in opposition under the leadership of Tony Blair, and won the general...

54 0 0.1 35,832 0.0 664
2001
United Kingdom general election, 2001
The United Kingdom general election, 2001 was held on Thursday 7 June 2001 to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. It was dubbed "the quiet landslide" by the media, as the Labour Party was re-elected with another landslide result and only suffered a net loss of 6 seats...

33 0 0.2 47,129 +0.1 1,428
2005
United Kingdom general election, 2005
The United Kingdom general election of 2005 was held on Thursday, 5 May 2005 to elect 646 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party under Tony Blair won its third consecutive victory, but with a majority of 66, reduced from 160....

117 0 0.7 192,746 +0.5 1,647
2010 339 0 1.9 563,743 +1.2 1,663

1983-1992

The BNP achieved no real success in their first three general elections from 1983-1992. No deposits of contested constituencies were saved and it never polled at above 3.6% in any constituency.

In the 1992 general election
United Kingdom general election, 1992
The United Kingdom general election of 1992 was held on 9 April 1992, and was the fourth consecutive victory for the Conservative Party. This election result was one of the biggest surprises in 20th Century politics, as polling leading up to the day of the election showed Labour under leader Neil...

 the BNP percent of votes overall was 0.1% of the electorate.

1997

In the United Kingdom general election, 1997
United Kingdom general election, 1997
The United Kingdom general election, 1997 was held on 1 May 1997, more than five years after the previous election on 9 April 1992, to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. The Labour Party ended its 18 years in opposition under the leadership of Tony Blair, and won the general...

 the BNP for the first time saved 3 deposits (out of 56 contested seats). Their highest amount of votes received was 3350 (7.5%) in the East End seat of Bethnal Green and Bow
Bethnal Green and Bow
Bethnal Green and Bow is a parliamentary constituency located in Greater London, represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election. The constituency first existed 1974-1983, and was...

 (held by Labour).

2001

The BNP in the United Kingdom general election, 2001
United Kingdom general election, 2001
The United Kingdom general election, 2001 was held on Thursday 7 June 2001 to elect 659 members to the British House of Commons. It was dubbed "the quiet landslide" by the media, as the Labour Party was re-elected with another landslide result and only suffered a net loss of 6 seats...

 saved 5 deposits (out of 33 contested seats) and secured their best ever general election result in Oldham West and Royton
Oldham West and Royton
Oldham West and Royton is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.- Boundaries :...

 (which had recently been the scene of racially motivated rioting between white and Asian youths) where party leader Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin
Nicholas John "Nick" Griffin is a British politician, chairman of the British National Party and Member of the European Parliament for North West England....

 secured 16.4% of the vote - more than doubling the party's previous best performance in any constituency. Their average votes per candidate also increased from 664 to 1,428, and they secured 47,129 votes in total.

2005

The United Kingdom general election 2005 was considered a major breakthrough by the BNP, as they picked up 192,746 votes in the 119 constituencies they contested, took a 0.7% share of the overall vote, and retained a deposit in 40 of the seats.

2010

The BNP put forward candidates for 338 out of 650 seats for the 2010 General Election gaining 563,743 votes (1.9%), finishing in fifth place and failing to win any seats. However, a record of 73 deposits were saved.

Party chairman Nick Griffin came third in the Barking
Barking (UK Parliament constituency)
Barking is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election. It has elected Labour MPs since its creation in 1945, usually with strong majorities.- Boundaries :The...

 constituency, behind Margaret Hodge
Margaret Hodge
Margaret Hodge MBE MP, also known as Lady Hodge by virtue of her husband's knighthood, is a British Labour politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Barking since 1994. She was the first Minister for Children in 2003 and was Minister of State for Culture and Tourism at the Department...

 of Labour and Simon Marcus of the Conservatives, who were first and second respectively. At 14.6%, this was the BNP's best result in any of the seats it contested that year.

Local elections

The BNP's first electoral success came in 1993, when Derek Beackon
Derek Beackon
Derek William Beackon is a former British National Party councillor.Beackon joined the BNP in 1986 as an associate member, becoming a full member two years later...

 was returned as a councillor in Millwall
Millwall
Millwall is an area in London, on the western side of the Isle of Dogs, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It lies to the south of the developments at West India Docks, including Canary Wharf.-History:...

, London. He lost his seat in elections the following year. The next BNP success in local elections was not until the 2002
Burnley Council election, 2002
Elections to Burnley Council in Lancashire, England were held on 2 May 2002. Due to a reorganisation, most of the electoral wards had boundary changes and some were replaced, only Lanehead and Briercliffe wards where unaffected. Also the number of seats was reduced to 45, resulting that the entire...

 local elections, when three BNP candidates gained seats on Burnley
Burnley (borough)
Burnley is a local government district of Lancashire, England, with the status of a non-metropolitan district and borough. It has an area of and a population of , and is named for its largest town, Burnley. The borough is bounded by Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Pendle, Rossendale — all in Lancashire...

 council.
  • In 2000 the BNP fielded 17 candidates in 12 councils and polled 3,022 votes. The average share of votes in wards contested was 8%.
  • In 2001 the BNP fielded 4 candidates in three councils and polled 867 votes, with an average share of 4% in the wards contested.
  • In 2002 the BNP fielded 67 candidates and polled 30,998 votes in 26 local councils. The BNP average share of votes was 16%. Three BNP candidates were elected for the first time in Burnley with an average share of 28.1%.
  • In 2003 the BNP fielded a total of 217 candidates in 71 local authorities in England and Scotland. The party won a total of 13 council seats, polling over 101,221 votes and averaging 17% of the vote in those wards where it fielded candidates.


The BNP's success in the 2003 local elections sparked national media publicity. Layer the same year, the BNP won two local by-elections. In the Heckmondwicke ward of Kirklees Council in August, David Exley, polled 1,607 votes (44%). In September, Nick Geri won the Grays Riverside ward of Thurrock council, polling 552 votes (38%). Later in Burnley, the number of councillors increased, making the BNP briefly the second-largest party and official opposition on that council, a position it lost after the resignation of a BNP councillor who had been disciplined by the party. The BNP stood in the subsequent by-election.
  • In 2004 the BNP had 312 candidates stand for election in 59 local authorities in England and Wales, including 25 candidates in Sunderland, 24 in Birmingham and 23 in Leeds. The BNP won 14 council seats, and polled 190,200 votes.
  • In 2005 the BNP fielded 41 candidates in 18 councils and polled 21,775 votes, averaging 11% share in the contested wards.


The party's biggest election success to date was a gain of 52% of the vote in the Goresbrook ward of Barking
Barking
Barking is a suburban town in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, in East London, England. A retail and commercial centre situated in the west of the borough, it lies east of Charing Cross. Barking was in the historic county of Essex until it was absorbed by Greater London. The area is...

 in the 2004 local elections. The victorious councillor, Daniel Kelley, retired just 10 months later, claiming he had been an outcast within the council. A new election was held in June 2005, in which the seat was regained by the Labour candidate.
  • In 2006, the BNP polled a total of 229,389 votes, having fielded 363 candidates in 78 local authorities across England. The party averaged 18% of the votes in wards contested. The BNP fielded 40 candidates in Birmingham, 25 in Sunderland, 23 in Kirklees, and 22 in Leeds. 33 BNP councillors were elected; four lost their seats and the party gained a seat with the defection of a Conservative councillor in Lincolnshire bringing its total to 49.


The biggest gain in the local elections on 4 May 2006
United Kingdom local elections, 2006
Local government elections took place in England on Thursday 4 May 2006. Polling stations were open between 7:00 and 22:00.All London borough council seats were up for election, as well as a third of the seats on each of the metropolitan borough councils, and a third of some unitary authorities...

, was in Barking and Dagenham
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
In 1801, the civil parishes that form the modern borough had a total population of 1,937; and the area was characterised by farming, woodland and the fishing fleet at Barking. This last industry employed 1,370 men and boys by 1850, but by the end of the century had ceased to exist; replaced by...

 where the BNP won 12 of the 13 seats it contested, gaining 17% of the vote. The BNP also won three seats in Epping Forest
Epping Forest (district)
Epping Forest is a local government district of the county of Essex, England. It is named after Epping Forest, of which the district contains a large part...

, three in Stoke-on-Trent
Stoke-on-Trent
Stoke-on-Trent , also called The Potteries is a city in Staffordshire, England, which forms a linear conurbation almost 12 miles long, with an area of . Together with the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme Stoke forms The Potteries Urban Area...

, three in Sandwell
Sandwell
Sandwell is a metropolitan borough of the West Midlands with a population of around 289,100, and an area of . The borough is named after Sandwell Priory, and spans a densely populated part of both the Black Country, and the West Midlands conurbation, encompassing the urban towns of Blackheath,...

, two in Burnley
Burnley Council election, 2006
Elections to Burnley Council in Lancashire, England were held on 4 May 2006. One third of the council was up for election, with by-elections in the Bank Hall and Brunshaw wards. The by-elections followed the resignations of Labour councilor Caroline Kavanagh and BNP turned independent with links...

, two in Kirklees
Kirklees
The Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees is a metropolitan borough of West Yorkshire, England. It has a population of 401,000 and includes the settlements of Batley, Birstall, Cleckheaton, Denby Dale, Dewsbury, Heckmondwike, Holmfirth, Huddersfield, Kirkburton, Marsden, Meltham, Mirfield and Slaithwaite...

, and single seats in Bradford
Bradford
Bradford lies at the heart of the City of Bradford, a metropolitan borough of West Yorkshire, in Northern England. It is situated in the foothills of the Pennines, west of Leeds, and northwest of Wakefield. Bradford became a municipal borough in 1847, and received its charter as a city in 1897...

, Havering, Solihull
Solihull
Solihull is a town in the West Midlands of England with a population of 94,753. It is a part of the West Midlands conurbation and is located 9 miles southeast of Birmingham city centre...

, Redditch
Redditch
Redditch is a town and local government district in north-east Worcestershire, England, approximately south of Birmingham. The district had a population of 79,216 in 2005. In the 19th century it became the international centre for the needle and fishing tackle industry...

, Redbridge
London Borough of Redbridge
The London Borough of Redbridge is a London borough in outer north-east London. Its administrative headquarters is at Redbridge Town Hall in Ilford. The local authority is Redbridge London Borough Council.-Etymology:...

, Pendle
Pendle
Pendle is a local government district and borough of Lancashire, England. It adjoins the Lancashire boroughs of Burnley and Ribble Valley, the North Yorkshire district of Craven and the West Yorkshire districts of Calderdale and the City of Bradford...

 and Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

. In 2006, the BNP also gained its first parish councillor in Wales when Mike Howard of Rhewl Mostyn, Flintshire
Flintshire
Flintshire is a county in north-east Wales. It borders Denbighshire, Wrexham and the English county of Cheshire. It is named after the historic county of Flintshire, which had notably different borders...

, previously an Independent, joined the BNP.
  • In the 2007 local elections, the BNP polled 292,911 votes. It won 10 seats with a net gain of one. The party fielded a record of 744 candidates in 148 councils across England and Scotland. This was more than double the number of candidates fielded in 2006; they scored on average 13% of the votes in the wards which they contested.


In summary of BNP councillors from 2000-2007: from 2000 to 2001 the BNP had none, in 2002 it had three, by 2003 it had
16 local councilors, this increased to 21 by 2005, in 2006 the biggest gain saw BNP's councillors rise to 48, and by 2007 to 50.

In 2007, the number of BNP councillors fell slowly due to resignations and expulsions, several of them associated with a failed leadership challenge in the summer. By the end of the year, the number was 42. In 2008, however, the BNP increased its councillors to 55.
  • In 2008, the BNP polled an average of 14% across 593 wards contested having fielded 612 candidates. The total number of votes polled by the BNP stood at 240,968. The party gained 15 seats and had 55 councillors in total.


The BNP did not field as many candidates for the 2009 local elections, because of its focus on the European Parliament election the same year, but for the first time won representation at county council level, winning three such seats. A seat in a local by-election in Sevenoaks district, Kent
Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, was also won by the BNP.

About four BNP councillors resigned at the end of 2009, leaving the party with 54 councilors by 2010. In the May 2010 local elections, 26 BNP councillors lost their seats, leaving the party with 28 seats overall. In Barking and Dagenham
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
In 1801, the civil parishes that form the modern borough had a total population of 1,937; and the area was characterised by farming, woodland and the fishing fleet at Barking. This last industry employed 1,370 men and boys by 1850, but by the end of the century had ceased to exist; replaced by...

, the party lost all 12 seats won in 2006.
  • In the 2011 local elections, the BNP fielded 268 candidates and defended 13 council seats. It lost 11 of these seats, including all 5 of their councillors in Stoke-on-Trent
    Stoke-on-Trent
    Stoke-on-Trent , also called The Potteries is a city in Staffordshire, England, which forms a linear conurbation almost 12 miles long, with an area of . Together with the Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme Stoke forms The Potteries Urban Area...

    . Two councillors were re-elected, one in Queensbury, West Yorkshire
    Queensbury, West Yorkshire
    Queensbury is a village in the metropolitan borough of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. Perched on a high vantage point above Clayton and Thornton and overlooking Bradford itself, Queensbury is one of the highest parishes in England, with fine views beyond the West Yorkshire conurbation to the...

     and the other in Charnwood
    Charnwood (borough)
    Charnwood is a borough of northern Leicestershire, England. It is named after Charnwood Forest, which it contains. Loughborough is the largest town in the district and serves as the borough's administrative and commercial centre.-History:...

     Leicestershire
    Leicestershire
    Leicestershire is a landlocked county in the English Midlands. It takes its name from the heavily populated City of Leicester, traditionally its administrative centre, although the City of Leicester unitary authority is today administered separately from the rest of Leicestershire...

    , but no new seats were gained.

2008

BNP lead candidate Richard Barnbrook
Richard Barnbrook
Richard John Barnbrook is a British politician and member of the London Assembly. Having been elected as a British National Party candidate, he resigned the BNP whip in August 2010. Barnbrook was a councillor, and leader , then deputy leader , of the BNP group on Barking and Dagenham London...

 won a seat in the London Assembly
London Assembly
The London Assembly is an elected body, part of the Greater London Authority, that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds majority, to amend the mayor's annual budget. The assembly was established in 2000 and is headquartered at City Hall on the south...

 in May 2008, after the party gained 5.3% of the London-wide vote. However in August 2010 he resigned the party whip and became an independent.

European elections

The BNP has taken part in European Parliament elections since 1999, when they received 1.13% of the total vote (102,647 votes).

2004 European election

In the 2004 elections to the European Parliament
European Parliament election, 2004 (UK)
The European Parliament election, 2004 was the UK part of the European Parliament election, 2004. It was held on 10 June. It was the first European election to be held in the United Kingdom using postal-only voting in four areas. It coincided with local and London elections.The Conservative Party...

, the BNP won 4.9% of the vote, making it the sixth biggest party overall, but did not win any seats.

2009 European elections

In light of the United Kingdom Parliamentary expenses scandal
United Kingdom Parliamentary expenses scandal
The United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal was a major political scandal triggered by the leak and subsequent publication by the Telegraph Group in 2009 of expense claims made by members of the United Kingdom Parliament over several years...

, there was media speculation that the BNP could do well in the polls, as voters sought an alternative party to register their protest.

In May 2009, The Sunday Mirror
Sunday Mirror
The Sunday Mirror is the Sunday sister paper of the Daily Mirror. It began life in 1915 as the Sunday Pictorial and was renamed the Sunday Mirror in 1963. Trinity Mirror also owns The People...

 revealed that the BNP had used stock photos to represent people supposedly in agreement with its policies. Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru
' is a political party in Wales. It advocates the establishment of an independent Welsh state within the European Union. was formed in 1925 and won its first seat in 1966...

 MP Adam Price
Adam Price
Adam Price is a politician in Wales, and former Plaid Cymru Member of Parliament for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr. He was elected to Parliament in the 2001 general election and re-elected in 2005 but stood down at the 2010 election...

 alleged misrepresentation and called on the Royal Mail to halt distribution. The BNP claimed this was standard practise by political parties.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York said it would be tragic if people abstained or voted BNP at the local and European elections.

The BNP won two seats in the European Parliament. Andrew Brons
Andrew Brons
Andrew Henry William Brons is a British politician. Long active in far right politics in Britain, he was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber for the British National Party at the 2009 European Parliament election...

 was elected in the Yorkshire and the Humber
Yorkshire and the Humber (European Parliament constituency)
Yorkshire and the Humber is a constituency of the European Parliament. It currently elects 6 MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.- Boundaries :...

 regional constituency with 9.8% of the vote. Party chairman Nick Griffin was elected in the North West region
North West England (European Parliament constituency)
North West England is a constituency of the European Parliament. For the 2009 elections it elects 8 MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.-Boundaries:...

, with 8% of the vote. Nationally, the BNP received 6.26%. Griffin stated that it was "a great victory ... we go on from here." Meanwhile, the Labour and Conservative parties both referred to it as a "sad moment". In local elections held the same day, the BNP also won its first three county council seats in Lancashire
Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

, Leicestershire
Leicestershire
Leicestershire is a landlocked county in the English Midlands. It takes its name from the heavily populated City of Leicester, traditionally its administrative centre, although the City of Leicester unitary authority is today administered separately from the rest of Leicestershire...

 and Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

.

Welsh Assembly

In the National Assembly for Wales election, 2003 the BNP only stood one candidate, Pauline Gregory, in the South Wales East region, who obtained 3,210 votes (1.89%), losing the deposit.

In the 2007 Welsh Assembly elections
National Assembly for Wales election, 2007
The 2007 National Assembly election was held on Thursday 3 May 2007 to elect members to the National Assembly for Wales. It was the third general election. On the same day local elections in England and Scotland, and the Scottish Parliament election took place...

 the BNP fielded 20 candidates, four in each of the five regional lists, with Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin
Nicholas John "Nick" Griffin is a British politician, chairman of the British National Party and Member of the European Parliament for North West England....

 standing in the South Wales West region. It did not win any seats, but was the only minor party to have saved deposits in the electoral regions with one in the North Wales region and the other in the South Wales West region. In total the BNP polled 42,197 votes (4. 3%).

In the 2011 Welsh Assembly elections
National Assembly for Wales election, 2011
The National Assembly for Wales election 2011 was the most recent election for the National Assembly. The poll was held on Thursday, 5 May 2011 and decided the incumbency for all the assembly's seats...

 the BNP fielded 20 candidates, four in each of the five regional lists and for the first time 7 candidates were fielded in FPTP constituencies. On the regional lists, the BNP polled 22,610 votes (2.4%), down 1.9% from 2007. In 2 out of the 7 FPTP constituencies contested the BNP saved desposits (Swansea East and Islwyn).

Scottish Parliament

In the 2003 Scottish Parliament election, the BNP only stood one candidate, Peter Appleby, in the Glasgow electoral region
Glasgow (Scottish Parliament electoral region)
Glasgow is one of the eight electoral regions of the Scottish Parliament , which were created in 1999. Nine of the parliament's 73 first past the post constituencies are sub-divisions of the region and it elects seven of the 56 additional-member Members of the Scottish Parliament...

 who obtained 2,344 votes (1.1%), losing the deposit.

In the 2007 Scottish Parliament election the party fielded 32 candidates, entitling it to public funding and an election broadcast, prompting criticism. The BNP received 24,616 votes (1.2%), no seats were won, nor were any deposits saved.

In the 2011 Scottish Parliament election the BNP fielded 32 candidates in the regional lists. 15,580 votes were polled (0.78%).

Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly

The BNP fielded 3 candidates for the first time in three constituencies each in the 2011 Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly elections (Belfast East
Belfast East (Assembly constituency)
Belfast East is a constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly.The seat was first used for a Northern Ireland-only election for the Northern Ireland Assembly, 1973...

, East Antrim
East Antrim (Assembly constituency)
East Antrim is a constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly.The seat was first used for a Northern Ireland-only election for the Northern Ireland Forum in 1996. Since 1998, it has elected members to the current Assembly....

 and South Antrim
South Antrim (Assembly constituency)
South Antrim is a constituency in the Northern Ireland Assembly.The seat was first used for a Northern Ireland-only election for the Northern Ireland Assembly, 1973...

). 1,252 votes were polled (0.2%) and no seats were won, nor deposits were saved.

Claims of repression of free speech

The BNP says that NUJ
National Union of Journalists
The National Union of Journalists is a trade union for journalists in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. It was founded in 1907 and has 38,000 members. It is a member of the International Federation of Journalists .-Structure:...

 guidelines on reporting 'far right' organisations forbid unionised journalists from reporting uncritically on the party.

In September 2005, 60,000 copies of Voice of Freedom, which had been printed in Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

, were seized by British police at Dover. The police later admitted this was a mistake and released the impounded literature shortly thereafter.

In April 2007, an election broadcast was pulled by BBC Radio Wales
BBC Radio Wales
BBC Radio Wales is the BBC's national radio station broadcasting to Wales in the English language. Operated by BBC Wales, it began broadcasting on 12 November 1978 following the demise of the old "Radio 4 Wales" when BBC Radio 4 became a national network and moved from medium wave to long wave...

' lawyers, who believed that the broadcast was defamatory of the Chief Constable
Chief Constable
Chief constable is the rank used by the chief police officer of every territorial police force in the United Kingdom except for the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police, as well as the chief officers of the three 'special' national police forces, the British Transport Police, Ministry...

 of North Wales Police
North Wales Police
North Wales Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing North Wales. The headquarters are in Colwyn Bay, with divisional headquarters in St Asaph, Caernarfon and Wrexham....

, Richard Brunstrom
Richard Brunstrom
Richard Brunstrom was the Chief Constable of North Wales Police, a position he held from January 2001 to July 2009.-Early life:...

. The broadcast was made available to download from the BNP's website.

Employment cases and related controversies

In ASLEF v. United Kingdom
ASLEF v. United Kingdom
Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen v United Kingdom [2007] was a landmark case before the European Court of Human Rights and upheld the right of ASLEF, a British trade union, to be able to choose its members.-Facts:...

, the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

 overturned an employment appeal tribunal ruling that awarded BNP train driver Jay Lee
Jay Lee
Jay Lee was a British National Party member, who fought a legal battle after being expelled from a trade union.Lee, a driver for Virgin Trains, stood as a BNP candidate in the 2002 local elections in Bexley and was subsequently expelled from the train drivers' union ASLEF for BNP membership...

, damages for expulsion from a trade union. It found that the union was entitled to decide who could be a member, and that the UK was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights
European Convention on Human Rights
The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953...

 in the way it had treated ASLEF. Clive Potter, later an official of Solidarity – The Union for British Workers
Solidarity – The Union for British Workers
Solidarity – The Union for British Workers is a United Kingdom trade union formed in late 2005 that is closely associated with the British National Party and Third Way think tank. It is named after the Polish trade union Solidarność, and its logo also appears to be derived from that of the Polish...

, was expelled from his union. A court upheld the expulsion and found that it was based on previous exclusion rather than BNP membership.

In another case, Robert Baggs claimed that he had been discriminated against because of "religion, or similar philosophical belief" after he was refused a job at a GP
General practitioner
A general practitioner is a medical practitioner who treats acute and chronic illnesses and provides preventive care and health education for all ages and both sexes. They have particular skills in treating people with multiple health issues and comorbidities...

 surgery. His claimed that the employer was in violation of the Employment (Religious Discrimination) Regulations of 2003. The Employment Tribunal found that membership of the BNP was not a "similar" belief, and the case was rejected. Stuart Chamberlain of management consultants Gee Consult has advised that a similar case might be successful since the removal of the qualification "similar" from philosophical belief by an amendment in 2007. "Cases concerning claims made by British National Party's (BNP) members that their fascist beliefs were similar to religious beliefs have previously been decided in favour of the employer or potential employer. Under the new law, a strong argument could be made to the contrary." This has yet to be tested.

Arthur Redfearn was a bus driver whose BNP membership was unknown to his employer, Serco, until he was elected as a councillor. His employer was concerned that he might endanger its contract with a local authority to transport vulnerable people of various ethnicities from a day centre and he was dismissed. The Employment Tribunal held that members of racist organisations could lawfully be dismissed on health and safety grounds if there was a danger of violence occurring in the workplace. It had been unsuccessfully argued at the Employment Tribunal that Redfearn had been racially discriminated against because the BNP is a whites-only organisation, and was treated unfairly in comparison to racist organisations that were non-white.

In 2002, a BNP candidate and Regional Organiser, Kevin Scott, was dismissed from the B&Q
B&Q
B&Q plc is a multinational DIY and home improvement retailer headquartered in Eastleigh, United Kingdom. It was founded in 1969 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kingfisher plc, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange....

 hardware store in Gateshead
Gateshead
Gateshead is a town in Tyne and Wear, England and is the main settlement in the Metropolitan Borough of Gateshead. Historically a part of County Durham, it lies on the southern bank of the River Tyne opposite Newcastle upon Tyne and together they form the urban core of Tyneside...

. The management said this was not due to his party membership but due to "low morale" amongst other staff who did not want to work with him, and also the number of calls from customers expressing their disapproval. Scott settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, although the BNP had pledged to support any action.

In 2010, weeks before the general election, the BNP candidate for Sutton Coldfield
Sutton Coldfield (UK Parliament constituency)
Sutton Coldfield is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.-Boundaries:...

, Robert Grierson, resigned as a barrister at St Philips chambers in Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

 after various newspapers including the Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
The Birmingham Post newspaper was originally published under the name Daily Post in Birmingham, England, in 1857 by John Frederick Feeney. It was the largest selling broadsheet in the West Midlands, though it faced little if any competition in this category. It changed to tabloid size in 2008...

, The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 and the Daily Mail
Daily Mail
The Daily Mail is a British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust. First published in 1896 by Lord Northcliffe, it is the United Kingdom's second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. Its sister paper The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982...

 ran articles concerning his political ambitions.
Police

Membership of the BNP, Combat 18
Combat 18
Combat 18 is a violent neo-Nazi organisation associated with Blood and Honour. It originated in the United Kingdom, but has since spread to other countries. Members of Combat 18 have been suspected in numerous deaths of immigrants, non-whites, and other C18 members...

 and the National Front by police officers and staff was prohibited by then Home Secretary David Blunkett
David Blunkett
David Blunkett is a British Labour Party politician and the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, having represented Sheffield Brightside from 1987 to 2010...

 following an undercover TV exposure of racism in a police training centre. The Association of Chief Police Officers banned serving police officers joining the BNP in 2004. Despite this, Simon Darby has claimed that the BNP still has members who remain covert. Manchester Police Authority has viewed footage taken at BNP events in order to identify off-duty officers in attendance at a BNP St George's Day rally, wearing BNP badges and T-shirts, with the slogan "Love Britain or Fuck Off".
A retired police officer, John Phazey, stood as a BNP European Assembly candidate. He denied that he was a racist or that the police were institutionally racist, saying: "Of course you heard words like Paki and nigger, but it didn't mean much more than someone saying Paddy for an Irishman or Jerry for a German...It was just jokes in the canteen. You'll get that anywhere when you have men in their 20s and 30s together".

A Police Community Support Officer, Ellis Hammond, was found to be a BNP member after he was discovered stockpiling weapons at his home, including a taser
Taser
A Taser is an electroshock weapon that uses electrical current to disrupt voluntary control of muscles. Its manufacturer, Taser International, calls the effects "neuromuscular incapacitation" and the devices' mechanism "Electro-Muscular Disruption technology"...

. Gary Marsden was sacked from his job within the West Yorkshire Police
West Yorkshire Police
West Yorkshire Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing West Yorkshire in England. It is the fourth largest force in England and Wales by number of officers, with 5671 officers....

 in 2007, for performing folk music at the BNP's Red, White and Blue Family Festival, and allowing his CDs to be sold by the Party, although it was accepted that he was not a member.

After BNP membership lists were leaked on the Internet, a number of police forces investigated officers whose names appeared on the lists. In March 2009, PC Steve Bettley of Merseyside Police, whose name appeared on one of the lists, was dismissed.
Prison service

A ban on BNP membership was imposed by Martin Narey, Director of the Prison Service, in 2002. Narey told the BBC that he received hate mail and a death threat as a result.
Other professions

, only the police and the prison services have an official prohibition on BNP membership. A ban on BNP membership was considered in the civil service in 2004 and in the probation service in 2005. In October 2005, a proposal to ban the BNP from Dorset Fire Brigade, proposed by the management and the Fire Brigades Union, was turned down by the Fire Authority. The president of the BNP-linked trade union Solidarity, Adam Walker, resigned from his job at a college for accessing BNP websites and posting comments using a school laptop during working hours. He was cleared of racism but found guilty of misconduct by the General Teaching Council
General Teaching Council for England
The General Teaching Council for England is the professional body for teaching in England. The GTC was established by the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998 which set two aims:...

. His brother, Mark Walker, was suspended from another college for allegedly accessing pornography using school equipment, and was eventually sacked on the basis of his sickness record. His supporters told the press that he had been suspended for accessing the BNP website and had been victimised because of his political beliefs.

The Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service declined to act against a BNP council candidate, Ian Johnson, after he wrote in his election leaflets that he was a retained firefighter, despite Fire Brigades Union
Fire Brigades Union
The Fire Brigades Union is a trade union in the United Kingdom for wholetime Firefighters , Retained Duty System and Emergency Control Room staff...

 pressure to do so.
Liam Birch, a sociology student standing as a BNP council candidate for Southway was dismissed as assistant warden at Plymouth University, when he posted in a blog that "The Jews declared war on Germany, not the other way round".

In February 2009, the General Synod of the Church of England
General Synod of the Church of England
The General Synod is the deliberative and legislative body of the Church of England. The synod was instituted in 1970, replacing the Church Assembly, and is the culmination of a process of rediscovering self-government for the Church of England that had started in the 1850s.- Church Assembly: 1919...

 voted to ban its clergy from joining the BNP.

Association with violence

John Hagan claims that the BNP has conducted right-wing extremist violence in order to gain "institutionalized power". Critics of the BNP, such as Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

 in a 1997 report, have asserted that the party recruits from skinhead groups and that it promotes racist violence.

In the past, Nick Griffin has defended the threat of violence to further the party's aims. In 1986, when Griffin was Deputy Chair of the NF, he advised his audience at an anti-IRA
Provisional Irish Republican Army
The Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms and political persuasion...

 rally to use the "traditional British methods of the brick, the boot and the fist." After the BNP won its first council seat in 1993, he wrote that the BNP should not be a "postmodernist rightist party" but "a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up its slogan 'Defend Rights for Whites' with well-directed boots and fists. When the crunch comes, power is the product of force and will, not of rational debate". In 1997 he said: "It is more important to control the streets of a city than its council chambers."

The BNP defends itself by arguing that over 20% of the working population has some criminal record or another and that a large proportion of MPs, councillors and activists in the other three main parties also have unsatisfactory past records.

A BBC Panorama
Panorama (TV series)
Panorama is a BBC Television current affairs documentary programme, which was first broadcast in 1953, and is the longest-running public affairs television programme in the world. Panorama has been presented by many well known BBC presenters, including Richard Dimbleby, Robin Day, David Dimbleby...

 programme reported on a number of BNP members who have had criminal convictions, some racially motivated. The BBC's list is extensive. Some of the more notable convictions include:
  • John Tyndall
    John Tyndall (politician)
    John Hutchyns Tyndall was a British politician who was prominently associated with several fascist/neo-Nazi sects. However, he is best known for leading the National Front in the 1970s and founding the contemporary British National Party in 1982.The most prominent figure in British nationalism...

     had convictions for assault and organising paramilitary neo-Nazi activities. In 1986 he was jailed for conspiracy to publish material likely to incite racial hatred.
  • In 1998, Nick Griffin was convicted of violating section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986
    Public Order Act 1986
    The Public Order Act 1986 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It creates a number of public order offences. They replace similar common law offences and parts of the Public Order Act 1936...

    , relating to incitement to racial hatred
    Hate speech
    Hate speech is, outside the law, any communication that disparages a person or a group on the basis of some characteristic such as race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or other characteristic....

    . He received a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was fined £2,300.
  • Kevin Scott, who in 2001 was the BNP's North East regional organiser, has two convictions for assault and using threatening words and behaviour.
  • Joe Owens, now expelled but previously a BNP candidate in Merseyside
    Merseyside
    Merseyside is a metropolitan county in North West England, with a population of 1,365,900. It encompasses the metropolitan area centred on both banks of the lower reaches of the Mersey Estuary, and comprises five metropolitan boroughs: Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Wirral, and the city of Liverpool...

     and former bodyguard to Nick Griffin, served eight months in prison for sending razor blades in the post to Jewish people and another term for carrying CS gas and knuckledusters.
  • Tony Wentworth, former BNP student organiser, was convicted alongside Owens for assaulting demonstrators at an anti-BNP event in 2003.
  • Colin Smith, who in 2004 was the BNP's South East London organiser, has 17 convictions for burglary, theft, possession of drugs and assaulting a police officer.
  • Richard Edmonds
    Richard Edmonds
    Richard Edmonds is a seasoned politician of British nationalism. A former Deputy Chairman and National Organiser of the British National Party, Richard was also a long-term supporter of John Tyndall.-Biography:...

    , at the time BNP National Organiser, was sentenced to three months in prison in 1994 for his part in a racist attack. Edmonds threw a glass at the victim as he was walking past an East London pub where a group of BNP supporters was drinking. Others then 'glassed' the man in the face and punched and kicked him as he lay on the ground, including BNP supporter Stephen O'Shea, who was jailed for 12 months. Another BNP supporter, Simon Biggs, was jailed for four and a half years for his part in the attack.

Tony Lecomber cases

Tony Lecomber
Tony Lecomber
Anthony "Tony" Mark Lecomber is a former Group Development Director for the British National Party.-Background:Lecomber has been active in far-right politics since the early 1980s...

 was imprisoned for three years for possessing explosives, after a nail bomb
Nail bomb
The nail bomb is an anti-personnel explosive device packed with nails to increase its wounding ability. The nails act as shrapnel, leading almost certainly to greater loss of life and injury in inhabited areas than the explosives alone would. The nail bomb is also a type of flechette weapon...

 exploded while he was carrying it to the offices of the Workers' Revolutionary Party
Workers' Revolutionary Party (UK)
The Workers Revolutionary Party is a minute Trotskyist group in Britain. In the mid-1980s, it split several ways.-The Club:The WRP grew out of the faction Gerry Healy and John Lawrence led in the Revolutionary Communist Party which urged that the RCP enter the Labour Party. This policy was also...

 in 1985. He was imprisoned for three years in 1991, whilst the BNP's Director of Propaganda, for assaulting a Jewish teacher.

Robert Cottage case

In 2007, Robert Cottage, a former BNP council candidate, was sentenced to two and a half years for possession of explosives but a conspiracy charge against him was withdrawn after two juries had been unable to reach a verdict. The prosecution claimed that Cottage had plans to assassinate Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

 and Liberal Democrat peer Lord Greaves
Tony Greaves, Baron Greaves
Anthony Robert Greaves, Baron Greaves is a UK politician. He is a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords.Together with Gordon Lishman, Greaves moved the party's famous Community Politics motion...

.

The chemicals recovered by police are believed to be the largest explosives haul ever found at a house in Britain.

2008 membership list leak

On 18 November 2008, a list of over 10,000 BNP members was published by Wikileaks
Wikileaks
WikiLeaks is an international self-described not-for-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Its website, launched in 2006 under The Sunshine Press organisation, claimed a database of more...

 in breach of a court injunction. This included names, addresses and other personal details. People on the list included prison officers (barred from BNP membership), teachers, soldiers, civil servants and members of the clergy. One of those named disavowed his membership.

Nick Griffin claimed that any party member dismissed from employment would be able to receive substantial compensation. The BNP advised those named on the list to deny their membership and said that they would confirm that in writing if required. The BNP claimed it contained the names of persons who had never been members of the BNP. The BNP's Lee Barnes claimed that the list was false.

People affected by the disclosure included a DJ, Rod Lucas, who was dropped by the Talksport
TalkSPORT
Talksport , owned by UTV radio, is one of the United Kingdom's three terrestrial analogue Independent National Radio broadcasters, offering a sports and talk radio service broadcast from London to the United Kingdom....

 radio station. He said: "I am an investigative radio journalist and am a member of over 20 political parties and pressure groups...It doesn't necessarily mean I agree with their views." A drama teacher at a prep school whose name was found on the list had been dismissed from a previous position as a result of her BNP membership.

Following an investigation by Welsh police and the Information Commissioner's Office, two people were arrested in December 2008 for breach of the Data Protection Act concerning the leak. Matthew Single was subsequently found guilty and fined £200. The fine was criticised as an "an absolute disgrace" by a BNP spokesman and a detective sergeant involved said he was "disappointed" with the outcome.

Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission sent the BNP a letter in 2009, ahead of legal action, setting out concerns about the BNP's constitution and membership criteria. It alleged that the BNP's constitution restricting membership to white people was unlawful under the Race Relations Act. The BNP chose to fight this opinion in the High Court
High Court of Justice
The High Court of Justice is, together with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, one of the Senior Courts of England and Wales...

.

The Commission issued county court proceedings against party leader Nick Griffin and two other officials.

The conclusion of the case in October 2009 saw costs awarded against the BNP. The BNP stated that Griffin was "required in Brussels" on that day. Griffin had written to BNP members preparing to concede the case because it would be too expensive to fight and would "strip the party of the ability to fight the next general election". Griffin subsequently announced that he would ask BNP members to accept the court's decision and allow non-whites to join the party, claiming that this action "outflanked" the EHRC. The BNP anticipated that its members would accept the change on financial grounds.

The BNP agreed to suspend further membership applications until an Extraordinary General Meeting in January 2010 confirming changes to the constitution. The case was adjourned in order to ensure compliance. As a result of the case, Welsh Secretary Peter Hain
Peter Hain
Peter Gerald Hain is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for the Welsh constituency of Neath since 1991, and has served in the Cabinets of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, firstly as Leader of the House of Commons under Blair and both Secretary of State for...

 protested against the BBC's inclusion of Griffin on the Question Time
Question Time (TV series)
Question Time is a topical debate BBC television programme in the United Kingdom, based on Any Questions?. The show typically features politicians from at least the three major political parties as well as other public figures who answer questions put to them by the audience...

 programme, claiming the court case meant the BNP was "an unlawful body". Shami Chakrabarti
Shami Chakrabarti
Shami Chakrabarti CBE , has been the director of Liberty, a British pressure group, since September 2003. Chakrabarti is the Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University.-Early life:...

, director of Liberty
Liberty (pressure group)
Liberty is a pressure group based in the United Kingdom. Its formal name is the National Council for Civil Liberties . Founded in 1934 by Ronald Kidd and Sylvia Crowther-Smith , the group campaigns to protect civil liberties and promote human rights...

, said: "A shiny new constitution does not a democratic party make. It would be a pyrrhic victory, to say the least, if anyone thought that giving the BNP a facelift would make the slightest difference to a body with so much racism and hatred pumping through its veins."

The courts declared that the new constitution still breached equality laws and was still indirectly discriminatory. Judge Paul Collins ordered the BNP to pay costs and said its membership list must remain "closed" until it complied with race relations laws. The BNP claimed that it had a waiting list of black and Asian people and wanted more applications from ethnic minorities.

In November 2010, the BNP leadership was accused of lying over the matter by the EHRC who claimed that the offending passage had not been removed but merely altered. In a subsequent hearing the BNP leadership was found not guilty of the contempt of court. The EHRC said: "Eighteen months and seven court hearings later Mr Griffin has finally amended the constitution to bring it in line with what the Commission had originally requested." Griffin said: "This is a great day, because the British National Party has won a spectacular David and Goliath victory".

Accusations of fraud

It was reported on October 10, 2011, that the BNP is under investigation for fraud regarding the submission of false invoices to the Electoral Commission
Electoral Commission
An Electoral Commission or Election Commission is an election management body, in charge of overseeing the implementation of election procedures:*Albania: Komisioni Qendror i Zgjedhjeve*Australia: Australian Electoral Commission...

.

Opposition

The BNP is condemned by many sections of the media, including right-wing newspapers such as the Daily Mail
Daily Mail
The Daily Mail is a British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust. First published in 1896 by Lord Northcliffe, it is the United Kingdom's second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. Its sister paper The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982...

. High-ranking politicians from each of the mainstream parties have, at various times, called for their own supporters to vote for anyone but the BNP, In 2008, then Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated: "Londoners and the rest of the British people know that backing the BNP is totally at odds with what it really means to be British—and the great British values the rest of us share, such as democracy and decency, freedom and fairness, tolerance and equality." Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 leader David Cameron
David Cameron
David William Donald Cameron is the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service and Leader of the Conservative Party. Cameron represents Witney as its Member of Parliament ....

, Liberal Democrat
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

 party leader Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg
Nicholas William Peter "Nick" Clegg is a British Liberal Democrat politician who is currently the Deputy Prime Minister, Lord President of the Council and Minister for Constitutional and Political Reform in the coalition government of which David Cameron is the Prime Minister...

, and former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell
Menzies Campbell
Sir Walter Menzies "Ming" Campbell, CBE, QC, MP is a British Liberal Democrat politician and advocate, and a retired sprinter. He is the Member of Parliament for North East Fife, and was the Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2 March 2006 until 15 October 2007.Campbell held the British record...

 have all condemned the BNP.

The British Government announced in 2009 that the BNP's two MEPs would be denied some of the access and information afforded to other MEPs. The BNP would be subject to the "same general principles governing official impartiality" and they would receive "standard written briefings as appropriate from time to time", but diplomats would not be "proactive" in dealing with the BNP MEPs and that any requests for policy briefings from them would be treated differently and on a discretionary basis.

Amongst the most visible and vocal opponents of the BNP and other far right-wing groups are Unite Against Fascism
Unite Against Fascism
Unite Against Fascism is an anti-fascist pressure group in the United Kingdom, with support from politicians of all mainstream UK political parties...

 and Searchlight
Searchlight (magazine)
Searchlight is a British anti-fascist magazine, founded in 1975 by Gerry Gable, which publishes exposés about racism, antisemitism, and fascism in the UK....

. Unite Against Fascism, which aims to unite a broad spectrum of opposition to the far-right, includes the Anti-Nazi League
Anti-Nazi League
The Anti-Nazi League was an organisation set up in 1977 on the initiative of the Socialist Workers Party with sponsorship from some trade unions and the endorsement of a list of prominent people to oppose the rise of far-right groups in the United Kingdom. It was wound down in 1981...

, the National Assembly Against Racism
National Assembly Against Racism
The National Assembly Against Racism is or was a British anti-racist and anti-fascist group.-External links:...

 and the Student Assembly Against Racism
Student Assembly Against Racism
Student Assembly Against Racism is the student wing of the United Kingdom National Assembly Against Racism.- External links :*...

. Searchlight has monitored the activities of far-right groups in Britain and abroad, including the BNP and its members, for many years.

Some opponents of fascism call for no coverage to be given to groups or individuals enunciating what they describe as "hate speech
Hate speech
Hate speech is, outside the law, any communication that disparages a person or a group on the basis of some characteristic such as race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or other characteristic....

". The "No Platform" stance is to deny perceived fascist hate speech any sort of publicity. The policy is most commonly associated with university student unions and debating societies, but has also resulted in BNP candidates being banned from speaking at various hustings meetings around the country. In 2005, the Leeds Student
Leeds Student
Leeds Student is a British weekly student newspaper, published free every Friday during term-time and distributed around the University of Leeds, Leeds, England. The only paid position is that of the editor, who is elected yearly by members of Leeds University Union. The articles are written by...

 newspaper was criticised after publishing an interview with Nick Griffin. Also in 2005, an invitation to Nick Griffin by the University of St Andrews
University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews, informally referred to as "St Andrews", is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English-speaking world after Oxford and Cambridge. The university is situated in the town of St Andrews, Fife, on the east coast of Scotland. It was founded between...

 Union Debating Society to participate in a debate on multiculturalism was withdrawn after protests. Direct action
Direct action
Direct action is activity undertaken by individuals, groups, or governments to achieve political, economic, or social goals outside of normal social/political channels. This can include nonviolent and violent activities which target persons, groups, or property deemed offensive to the direct action...

 has been taken against the BNP stalls in shopping centres. The BNP claims that such cases exemplify how political correctness is being used to silence it and suppress its right to freedom of speech.

In May 2007, a presentation by Nick Griffin was to be held at the University of Bath
University of Bath
The University of Bath is a campus university located in Bath, United Kingdom. It received its Royal Charter in 1966....

, but the University withdrew permission due to concerns over the large number of people opposing the meeting and possible disruption it could cause.

In October 2010, a Democratic Unionist Party
Democratic Unionist Party
The Democratic Unionist Party is the larger of the two main unionist political parties in Northern Ireland. Founded by Ian Paisley and currently led by Peter Robinson, it is currently the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the fourth-largest party in the House of Commons of the...

 councillor in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, Bobby McKee
Bobby McKee
Bobby McKee MBE is a Unionist politician in Larne, Northern Ireland and former member of the Ulster Volunteer Force.McKee is a Democratic Unionist Party councillor and a member of Larne Borough Council since 1989....

, condemned a BNP leafleting campaign in his home town of Larne
Larne
Larne is a substantial seaport and industrial market town on the east coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland with a population of 18,228 people in the 2001 Census. As of 2011, there are about 31,000 residents in the greater Larne area. It has been used as a seaport for over 1,000 years, and is...

 opposing a refugee dentention centre being built there.

The Anti-Nazi League-organised group, Love Music Hate Racism
Love Music Hate Racism
Love Music Hate Racism is a music-oriented campaign based in Britain by the Anti-Nazi League and Unite Against Fascism. The campaign involves concerts aimed at spreading an anti-racist message...

, organises regular music events in opposition to the far-right.

Veterans and Second World War

In June 2009, the Royal British Legion wrote to Griffin privately to ask him to stop wearing their poppy symbol. After he refused and wore the badge at campaign events and on the party's televised election broadcast, The Legion said in an open letter: "True valour deserves respect regardless of a person's ethnic origin, and everyone who serves or has served their country deserves nothing less ... [our national chairman] appealed to your sense of honour. But you have responded by continuing to wear the poppy. So now we're no longer asking you privately. Stop it, Mr Griffin. Just stop it." In September 2009, the Legion accepted a donation which it had initially rejected from BNP member Rachel Firth. Firth had spent 24 hours raising the money, half of which was given to the Legion and the other half to the BNP. The Legion said that Firth had assured them that the donation would not be exploited politically although the story was later "splashed across" the BNP's website. BNP spokesman Simon Darby denied that the party exploited the story.

Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

's family has criticised the BNP after the party used his image and quotes from one of his speeches in its campaign. Churchill's grandson, Nicholas Soames
Nicholas Soames
Arthur Nicholas Winston Soames MP , known as Nicholas Soames, is a British Conservative Party Member of Parliament for the constituency of Mid Sussex....

, described the BNP as "monstrous" and said its use of Churchill was "offensive and disgusting".

The BNP was also caught up in a dispute with 1940s singer Vera Lynn
Vera Lynn
Dame Vera Lynn, DBE is an English singer-songwriter and actress whose musical recordings and performances were enormously popular during World War II. During the war she toured Egypt, India and Burma, giving outdoor concerts for the troops...

 after she objected to the party selling copies of her White Cliffs of Dover
(There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover
" The White Cliffs of Dover" is a popular World War II song made famous by Vera Lynn with her 1942 recording—one of her best known recordings. Written in 1941 by Walter Kent and Nat Burton, the song was also among the most popular Second World War tunes...

 CD on its website to fund its European election campaign.

Online presence

In September 2007, The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

 newspaper reported that Hitwise
Hitwise
Experian Hitwise is a global online competitive intelligence service which collects data directly from ISP networks to aid website managers in analysing trends in visitor behavior and to measure website market share. The Hitwise product is a commercial platform whereby customers pay Hitwise a...

, the online competitive intelligence service, said that the BNP website had more hits than any other website of a British political party. In 2009, the party's website came under fire after it was revealed that much of the merchandise it sold was made in Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

, contrary to the party's pledge of "British Jobs for British Workers".

Officially linked groups

  • The short-lived American Friends of the British National Party
    American Friends of the British National Party
    American Friends of the British National Party was a political activist group founded by British far right expatriate Mark Cotterill in January 1999 that facilitated financial assistance for the British National Party from American supporters...

     gave financial assistance to the BNP from American supporters, and it also facilitated contact between far right figures in both countries.
  • The Trafalgar Club is the BNP fundraising club, and the name the party uses to book hotels and conference facilities.
  • The BNP Ethnic Liaison Committee is an organisation that people from ethnic minorities can join. The committee has joined with BNP members in staging demonstrations.
  • Great White Records is a record label launched in January 2006 that is described by the BNP as "a patriotic label". It launched a campaign to introduce British folk music
    Folk music
    Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

     to schoolchildren. Most of the songs were sung by Doncaster folk musician Lee Haggan, and were written by Nick Griffin. Haggan denied that the BNP was targeting schools; in a TV interview Griffin said "It's a great way of getting our message to children."
  • Albion Life Insurance was set up in September 2006 as an insurance brokerage company on behalf of the BNP, in order to raise funds for its actvities. The firm ceased to operate in November 2006.
  • The BNP obtains some of its funding from the sale of books and heraldic or Norse jewellery. The merchandising arm of the British National Party is the Excalibur brand.

International political contacts

The BNP and the French Front National have co-operated on numerous occasions. Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jean-Marie Le Pen
Jean-Marie Le Pen is a French far right-wing and nationalist politician who is founder and former president of the Front National party. Le Pen has run for the French presidency five times, most notably in 2002, when in a surprise upset he came second, polling more votes in the first round than...

 visited the UK in 2004 to assist in launching the BNP's European Parliament campaign and Nick Griffin repaid the favour by sending a delegation of BNP officials to the FN's annual 'First of May Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc
Saint Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" , is a national heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. A peasant girl born in eastern France who claimed divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, which paved the way for the...

 parade' in Paris in 2006. The BNP has links with Germany's National Democratic Party
National Democratic Party of Germany
The National Democratic Party of Germany – The People's Union , is a far right German nationalist party. It was founded in 1964 a successor to the German Reich Party . Party statements self-identify as Germany's "only significant patriotic force"...

. Griffin addressed an NPD rally in August 2002, headed by Udo Voigt
Udo Voigt
Udo Voigt is a German politician and former leader of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany since 1996. He is a former aviation engineer and captain in the German army.- Political career :...

, who Gerhard Schroeder accused of trying to remove immigrants from eastern Germany. In the run-up to the 2004 European Parliament election campaign
European Parliament election, 2004 (Sweden)
The European Parliament election of 2004 in Sweden was the election of MEP representing Sweden constituency for the 2004-2009 term of the European Parliament. It was part of the wider 2004 European election. The vote took place on June 13...

, Nick Griffin visited Sweden to give the National Democrat Party
National Democrats (Sweden)
The National Democrats is a minor political party in Sweden, formed by a faction of the Sweden Democrats in October 2001. The party describes itself as a democratic nationalist and ethnopluralist party....

 his endorsement. Members of the Swedish National Democrats were present at the BNP's 2005 Red White and Blue rally.

In London on 16 May 2008, Nick Griffin met leaders of the Hungarian far right party Jobbik to discuss co-operation between the two parties. Griffin spoke at a Jobbik party rally in August 2008. In April 2009, Simon Darby
Simon Darby
Simon Darby is a British politician and former Deputy Chairman of the British National Party.-Background:By occupation a computer communications consultant, Darby began his political career in the National Democrats, most of whose activity was centred around his West Midlands base...

, deputy chairman of the BNP, was welcomed with fascist salutes by members of the Italian nationalist Forza Nuova during a trip to Milan. Darby stated that the BNP would look to form an alliance with France's Front National in the European Parliament, though this has not happened.

Alleged front organisations

  • Solidarity – The Union for British Workers
    Solidarity – The Union for British Workers
    Solidarity – The Union for British Workers is a United Kingdom trade union formed in late 2005 that is closely associated with the British National Party and Third Way think tank. It is named after the Polish trade union Solidarność, and its logo also appears to be derived from that of the Polish...

     has been linked to the BNP, but its president, Patrick Harrington
    Patrick Harrington
    Patrick "Pat" Harrington is a British Politician, currently General Secretary of Solidarity – The Union for British Workers an organisation affiliated to the British National Party, and a Director of the Third Way think-tank...

    , and the BNP both deny that it is a BNP front organisation.
  • The Christian Council of Britain
    Christian Council of Britain
    The Christian Council of Britain is an organisation founded by Rev Robert West. While it claims to be "an independent, non-political organisation autonomous of any political party in Britain," the CCoB is closely associated with the British National Party.West, a former Conservative Party...

     was set up by BNP members and supporters to organise Christians "in defence of traditional Christian values". The United Reformed Church
    United Reformed Church
    The United Reformed Church is a Christian church in the United Kingdom. It has approximately 68,000 members in 1,500 congregations with some 700 ministers.-Origins and history:...

     has said that support for organisations such as the BNP is incompatible with Christianity. The Council's liaison officer denies it is a BNP front.
  • Opponents of the BNP claim that the English Defence League
    English Defence League
    The English Defence League is a far-right street protest movement which opposes what it considers to be a spread of Islamism, Sharia law and Islamic extremism in the UK. The EDL uses street marches to protest against Islamic extremism...

    is a front for BNP activity, although the BNP denies any link and says that the EDL is "proscribed" to its members. It has been reported that an EDL website was set up by Chris Renton, a BNP activist who has been accused of hijacking the EDL. In a radio interview in July 2009, EDL spokesperson Paul Ray confirmed this but the EDL attempted to distance itself from him. The website was taken down, according to Hopenothate ”in an apparent attempt to conceal any link” In a broadcast audio conversation with Simon Darby, Nick Griffin claimed that the EDL was a “Zionist false flag operation” and "a neo-con operation”. They claimed that it was an attempt to provoke a low level civil war. In 2010, Lee Barnes was removed as head of the party's legal department for calling for "British nationalists to join the EDL demonstration".

External links

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