The British National Party has its roots in fascism, anti-Semitism and violence. Despite an attempt by Nick Griffin to change its image, it cannot hide its racist history nor the criminality of its members

– Jon Cruddas MP

The first, second and third British National Parties

The first British National Party was founded during the Second World War, when a handful of former members of the British Union of Fascists took on the name.

Calling for a negotiated peace with Nazi Germany, this anti-Semitic group’s attempted march on the Cenotaph in 1942 was banned by the government. It rapidly disbanded, with its members almost immediately founding the English National Association the following year.

The second British National Party was formed in 1960 by the merger of the far right National Labour Party and the provocative White Defence League, two splinter groups from the League of Empire Loyalists, a pressure group campaigning against the dissolution of the British Empire.

Senior member John Tyndall, a former member of the National Front who believed “Hitler was right”, left in 1962 to set up the National Socialist Movement.

A third British National Party made a brief appearance in the early 1970s, when a National Front activist attempted to organise a group in Leeds.

The modern BNP

The current party was founded in 1982 as a merger between the New National Front and the neo-Nazi British Movement. John Tyndall was elected leader.

Mein Kampf is my bible

– John Tyndall

It did not take long for party members to show their true colours, with activist Tony Lecomber jailed for criminal damage before the year was out.

Three years later he was injured by a firework he was carrying to blow up the offices of a rival organisation and three years after that he was back behind bars after attacking a Jewish teacher who removed BNP stickers at a Tube station.

In 1988 the party’s Deputy Leader Richard Edmonds published Holocaust News, claiming the Holocaust was an “evil hoax” and in 1989 the party set up its national headquarters in Welling, Kent, a move that coincided with a dramatic rise in racist attacks in the area.

Four young black and Asian men – Rolan Adams, Orville Blair, Rohit Duggal and Stephen Lawrence – were murdered in racist attacks around the party’s HQ between February 1991 and April 1993.

The party gained support steadily throughout the early 1990s – it led the ‘Defend Rights for Whites’ campaign in Tower Hamlets – and in 1992 formed Combat 18, a paramilitary organisation designed to protect BNP events and attack its enemies.

In September 1993 it won a council seat by seven votes in Millwall ward on the Isle of Dogs in Tower Hamlets (East London) after candidate Derek Beackon blamed local Bangladeshis for housing shortages and lack of services.

I don’t care what the Bengalis think. We are here for the white people. They are the ones being racially attacked. I am only going to represent the white people. I will not represent Asians. I will not do anything for them. They have no right to be in my great country.

– Derek Beackon

Beackon lost his seat the following year.

The party struggled on until 1999 when, just months after being convicted of publishing racially inflammatory material, Nick Griffin defeated John Tyndall in a leadership election and set about transforming the party for electoral success.

The BNP today

But despite Griffin’s best attempts to present the party as respectable and electable, he cannot leave his party’s baggage behind:

2002 BNP Youth leader Mark Collett is captured singing Adolf Hitler’s praises on Channel 4’s undercover Dispatches documentary Young, Nazi and Proud
Young, Nazi and proudChannel 4 News

2003

BNP youth chief at centre of university rowSalford Advertiser
BNP uses mythical refugees to win white suburbThe Guardian
BNP councillor admits pub assaultBBC News
BNP member loses appeal over Islam posterThe Daily Telegraph

2004

January
Former BNP Blackburn councillor Robin Evans slams the party, saying: “The local branch was largely made up of football hooligans and drug dealers. I would rather have the current dictatorship [Labour] than the political disaster that is promised from the BNP.”

February
BNP calls national demonstration outside NUJ headquarters in London to complain about ‘anti-white bias’ in the media

March
Burnley BNP councillor Maureen Stowe leaves the party when she discovers its members are racists
Dazed and confusedThe Guardian
Ex-BNP member backs anti-fascistsBBC News

May
BNP candidate convicted of threatening behaviour
The BNP bullyboyThe Star

June
White supremacist aids BNPThe Guardian

July
Jason Gwynne spends six months undercover inside the BNP. The subsequent documentary, The Secret Agent, shows activists fantasising about attacking mosques with rockets and Muslims with guns, together with a speech from Griffin in which he boasts his words could lead to seven years in prison if made public.

The Secret AgentBBC News

Going undercover in the BNPBBC News

BNP leaders may face charges after TV exposé of racismThe Guardian

August
BNP fails to submit audited accounts to Electoral Commission

BNP could face fine over accountsBBC News

September
BNP calls for boycott against newspaper advertisers after negative coverage
BNP threatens newspaper’s advertisersThe Guardian

December
BNP leader held by police over racist remarksThe Guardian

Burnley BNP councillor Brian Turner is convicted of assaulting his wife and a police officer. BNP issues statement saying: “We are not in the business of persecuting our members because the state considers someone guilty.”

2005

January
BNP slams the effort to raise fund for victims of the Asian tsunami, with party legal advisor Lee Barnes saying: “The public rites of ritual giving in the ‘Cult of Conspicuous Compassion’ that is sweeping Britain like a virus in the wake of the Tsunami disaster is a symptom of our cultural decadence and degeneration . . . I despise being emotionally manipulated by the false media, for as a human being I demand the right to feel sorry for whom I wish.”

March
Furious mother Angela Sinfield, whose daughter was ‘groomed’ by gangs in Keighley, attacks BNP after her name appears on a party leaflet. “I have never had anything to do with the BNP and never would. They are not a political party, they are a bunch of racists.”
Mother out to seize stronghold of ‘unforgivable’ BNPThe Guardian

April
Nick Griffin and Yorkshire Organiser Mark Collett are charged with using words or behaviour intended or likely to incite racial hatred, following The Secret Agent.
BNP leader faces race hate chargesThe Guardian

Barking Parliamentary candidate Richard Barnbrook claims his tree-planting charity has the support of the Queen, Prince Charles, rock star Sting, Tony Blair, Sir David Attenborough and Liverpool and Everton football clubs. They deny all knowledge.

June
BNP pair fined for brawl on campusManchester Evening News

July
BNP leader denies race hate chargesThe Guardian

Tube driver condemns BNP bombing leafletThe Guardian

BNP candidate publishes Fallacies of Integration paper, in which he states: “An African Negro born here will still be a Negro, even if his speech and manners were perfect English.”

Fallacies of IntegrationBritish National Party (PDF)

December
Former BNP candidate Roderick Rowley is jailed for 15 months after sending obscene images involving children to others. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years after admitting at Birmingham Crown Court 14 charges of making indecent photos, four of distributing them and one charge of possessing an image for distribution.

Investigation into Darwen BNP candidateBlackburn Citizen

2006

February

Retrial ordered after Griffin walks freeThe Guardian

April
Exposed: BNP’s campaign of liesThe Independent

May
BNP distributes election leaflets claiming paedophiles are working in Derbyshire schools

Council disputes BNP election materialDerbyshire County Council

BNP race sacking claim dismissedBBC News

Court upholds reporting of BNP feud
Parity at lastNew Statesmen

BNP man warned he is facing prisonThis is Lancashire

June
Chesterfield BNP fundholder Martin Glasgow is jailed for 12 months for a racist assault against an Asian man
Racist brawler loses fight against convictionThe Star

‘Racist’ BNP website closed downBirmingham Mail

Race abuse councillor under pressure to quitThis is Lancashire

August
Kaiser Chiefs’ BNP DisputeContactMusic.com

September
Race abuse conviction ‘landmark’BBC News

October
BNP councillor is £3,000 benefit cheat
Mulhall guilty of fiddling £3,000 from taxpayerHalifax Courier

November
Retrial begins of BNP leaders accused of stirring racial hatredThe Guardian

Cabinet rethinks race hate laws after jury frees BNP leadersThe Guardian

2007

January
BNP councillor guilty of assaultWorcester News

BNP man sent racist threats
Grinning BNP man’s Mail shameHalifax Courier

Violent BNP pub to be bulldozedSunday Mercury

February
BNP organiser attacks “excess of sentimentality” after death of Ivan Cameron
Exposed: ugly face of BNP’s leadersThe Guardian

Racist gunman gets lifeThe London Paper

Vicar blasts far right meetings in church hallMK News

July
Croydon BNP election candidate investigated over immigrants rantCroydon Advertiser

Ex-BNP man jailed over chemicalsBBC News

October
BNP councillor booted out for non-attendance
BNP man kicked outExpress & Star

November
BNP organiser compares Auschwitz to Disneyland
Theme park claim angerEvening Chronical

December
BNP fined for late submission of accountsElectoral Commission

2008

February

BNP councillors in Barking and Dagenham call for a £2m cut in spending on services for older persons

March
BNP councillor expelled after helping Muslim
Llysfaen councillor quits the ‘racist’ BNPNorth Wales Weekly News

The parents of Rachel Whitear, the 21-year-old who died of a drug overdose in 2000, condemn the BNP for using a picture of their daughter’s corpse in campaign against Muslims.
Rachel Whitear’s parents condemn BNP for using image of their dead daughter in pamphletDaily Mail

BNP member covertly poses as police officerThe Times

April
London Assembly candidate Nick Eriksen writes on his blog: “Rape is simply sex”.
Women more troubled by bag theft than rape, BNP candidate claimsThe Evening Standard

May
Richard Barnbrook wins seat on London Assembly, gaining 5.3% of the vote in the mayoral election
Profile: Richard Barnbrook
BBC News

August

Victim punched after row over BNPSwindon Advertiser

November
BNP members jailed for sex attacks on girls
Evil paedos are secret BNP thugsNews of the World

BNP councillor accused of verbally abusing newspaper reporterPress Gazette

Anger over BNP’s ‘white history month’New Statesman

2009

January
BNP members told to remove party logo from their blogs to “protect the party from any potentially costly legal challenges”.

Youth Leader Mike Howson takes two young women to meet racist extremists in Sweden. They attend the European Youth Conference in Gothenburg, organised by the National Democratic Youth, the youth wing of the nazi National Democrats. Howson has already caused concern by featuring anti-Semitic videos on his social networking website.

February
BNP election candidate sent death threats
BNP candidate Charlotte Lewis’s secret criminal pastCroydon Guardian

May
BNP’s attempt to gain first European seat aided by man linked to ANC leader’s killerThe Guardian

British National Party accused of hostile takeover of trade unionThe Times

June
Kelly Holmes is not fully British, says BNP MEP Andrew BronsThe Daily Telegraph

Fake BNP leaflet shows there is no lie too big for the BNPThe Mirror

August

BNP councillor faces demand to quit over ‘Nazi’ number plateThe Evening Standard

Racist BNP teenager who bullied girl, 14, to brink of suicide walks free from courtThe Daily Mail

September

BNP councillor suspended for one monthChannel 4 News

BNP councillor banned from driving blames conspiracy
BNP ‘higher order’ defence failsBBC News

Residents say BNP councillor has ‘done nothing’ for the areaThis is Local London

October
Non-whites barred from ‘open’ BNP meetingThe Evening Standard

BNP candidate says he will go to his grave wanting his party to remain “white only”
BNP man’s racist vowScotsman

BNP warned after accounts are three months overdue
BNP to ‘target patriotic Tory voters after Cameron betrays them’The Times

BNP activist charged with explosives and fire arms offencesEast Anglian Daily Times

BNP refuses to apologise after ‘hijacking’ VE party pictureWestern Mail

BNP would turn on disabled people, warns magazine
Griffin’s politics of hateDisability Now

BNP threatens to boycott News Shopper’s advertisersNews Shopper

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