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Times of London: BNP still racist, membership list closed

March 12, 2010
Times Online Logo 222 x 25

From Times Online
March 12, 2010

Revised BNP membership rules ‘still racist’

A BNP badge

Nico Hines

The British National Party faced a serious set back in its bid for legitimacy today when a judge ruled that its new membership rules were still likely to discriminate against non-white people.

The far-right party will be forced to close its membership list until it complies with race discrimination legislation.

BNP officials voted to abolish its whites-only policy at a heated meeting last month after the threat of a possible court injunction from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

But today at Central London County Court, Judge Paul Collins ruled that the party was still likely to discriminate on racial grounds.

“I hold that the BNP are likely to commit unlawful acts of discrimination within section 1b Race Relations Act 1976 in the terms on which they are prepared to admit persons to membership under the 12th addition of their constitution,” he said. “The membership list will have to be closed.”

Nick Griffin, the party leader, was confronted by a small group of protesters outside the court. They chanted “Nazi scum” as he entered the building.

Speaking before the ruling, Mr Griffin said: “The constitution was always legal.”

Last month, the group scrapped its whites only policy following the threat of a possible court injunction from the EHRC.

The BNP said it had a “waiting list” of black and Asian people. Millionaire Asian businessman Mo Chaudry said he would apply to join the party to “fight them from the inside”.

But he was told his application would be blocked. Speaking earlier, Mr Chaudry, 49, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, said: “I’m hoping the court will take a robust approach and question the real intent of the change in the constitution.

“They have no real intention of allowing people like me into the fold. It is just a camouflage to appease the system.”

Pakistan-born Mr Chaudry, who is worth £60 million, runs a string of businesses around Stoke-on-Trent, which has eight BNP members on the city council.

The decision to change the BNP constitution came after the far-right party held an extraordinary general meeting in Essex on February 14.

A reporter for The Times, Dominic Kennedy, was violently ejected from the meeting despite having been invited to attend.

Following the meeting, Mr Griffin said he soon expected to welcome the party’s first non-white member, Sikh Rajinder Singh.

Lawyers from the EHRC were considering the precise wording of the new rules to decide whether they believed the constitution was still discriminatory.

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