April 29, 2008

The bizarre truth about the BNP boss, his ballerina fiancé and bitter wife

With a distinct sartorial style which worries even his most extremist supporters, and a background as a "visionary" artist whose most notable work was a homo-erotic film, Richard Barnbrook is an unusual far-right leader, to say the least. But on Thursday, this is the man who hopes to become the first neo-fascist mayor of London.

Even when Barnbrook fails in that endeavour, as he most certainly will, he is likely to be elected as the first British National Party member of the Greater London Assembly.

Eleven of the 25 available seats are decided by proportional representation, and the extreme Right-wing party needs only a 0.2 per cent increase on its share of the 2004 election vote to gain one. In what it describes as its "biggest push ever", the BNP even hopes to win two or perhaps three seats. And Mr Barnbrook is top of their candidates list. Even his opponents concede it is possible.

Mainstream concerns about immigration levels have long played into the BNP's grubby hands. But in the run-up to the election, there has been an additional factor that has given the party a fillip.

Much has been made by would-be-Mayor Barnbrook of his recent engagement to Simone Clarke, the celebrated principal dancer of the English National Ballet. Though she has since left the ENB, her relationship with Barnbrook has given him a veneer of glamour and respectability that he hopes will serve him well at the polls. Speaking recently of their engagement, the Dagenham councillor said: "I gave her a diamond ring. I'm traditional like that."

Less traditional, though, is the fact that Mr Barnbrook already has a wife - albeit one that he is rather less keen to publicise. For we can reveal that Barnbrook, 47, has been married for the past ten years to a well-educated young American who is a decorated, serving officer in the Metropolitan Police force. Not only that, she has several prominent black friends, including the TV presenter Moira Stuart, and loathes her husband's far-right ideology.

Their marriage broke down because of his "rotten politics". She joined the police force, she says, to do some good in the world and, in part, to make amends for him. Little wonder, then, that Barnbrook has been so reluctant to volunteer her existence. Now, though, we can shed some light on the strange private life of Richard Barnbrook.

Certainly, if there is a more peculiar politician in the country, he has yet to emerge. In public, Barnbrook has long favoured what one acquaintance calls a "Stormtrooper" brown suit and matching tie, which even his supporters feel is rather too suggestive of a Nuremberg rally for his electoral good.

"He looks just like Hitler," one person posted on the extreme Right-wing Stormfront website. "Whoever styles him needs a good kicking."

Perhaps the uniform look is merely a facet of his military background. For Barnbrook is one of five children of a former NCO musician in the Life Guards, who during his service was based at the Household Cavalry barracks in Knightsbridge and Windsor and served a tour in Germany. After John Barnbrook left the Army, he moved his family to a smallholding near the River Humber. Stephen, Richard's younger brother, followed John into the armed forces, and later became a prison officer.

Richard was the artistic child. He moved to London, where he studied at the Royal College of Art before falling into the company of Derek Jarman, the award-winning gay film-maker who was later to succumb to Aids. Jarman gave Barnbrook his first film camera. He also introduced him to the future Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton, whom Barnbrook has since described as an ex-girlfriend.

But Barnbrook's time in this liberal artistic milieu will always be remembered for his writing and directorship of the 58-minute film HMS Discovery: A Love Story which archives describe as "Marxist Gay cinema". Naked young men run about, flagellating each other and simulating gay sex acts while homo-erotic poetry is intoned. Barnbrook, for whom the 1989 piece is an embarrassment among the homophobic Far Right, huffily insists it was an "art film".

We shall torment him no further on the matter. Suffice it to say that several years after its release he met a young American woman and surely dispelled any of those silly rumours. She was a wealthy doctor's daughter 13 years his junior who had moved to Britain because, she says: "I didn't agree with U.S. foreign policy."

I met her yesterday, bleary with fatigue having finished her inner-city police shift at 4am. She has reverted to using her maiden name, and cannot be identified because of her job. She is appalled at the possibility of being recognised as the London BNP leader's wife.

"I was 22 and I fell for him because I thought he was a great artist," she says. "He was different then."

They married a year later, in early 1998, at Lewisham register office. The couple set up home in South-East London and she joined the BBC, as an editorial assistant on Breakfast Time. Alas, there were few happy times ahead for her.

"Richard changed around 1999," she recalls. "That was when his views became very extreme. It was a total shock. Marriage means an awful lot to me, so I didn't want to walk away though I hated (their) rotten politics. I stuck with him because I thought I could persuade him otherwise. I thought that if he could change once, he could change a second time."

As their marriage creaked under the strain of conflicting ideologies, Barnbrook and his wife joined the board of the Jubilee Woods Trust, a reputable environmental project with royal connections. It collapsed when Barnbrook's senior position within the BNP became apparent.

Another board member recalls: "His wife was absolutely saint-like, worked tirelessly and I felt terribly sorry for her. I don't know how they ended up together. It was obviously a terrible marriage. I think she felt enormously betrayed and embarrassed about the BNP thing. She told me that she had decided to become a policewoman and that was the last I saw of her."

The Barnbrooks separated four years ago. His wife says: "In the end he said: 'If you don't like my politics you can get out.' So that is what I did. In a way, I wanted to join the police to redress the karmic imbalance in the world caused by my husband's views."

Police officers are not allowed to be members of the BNP. "You have no idea how much harder the vetting process to become a police officer was for me, because of who my husband is," she says. "Or what problems it could cause if people knew."

She adds: "He used me and he has admitted it and apologised. He owes me a lot of money and is just starting to pay me back."

She says because of the delicacy of both their positions they had agreed not to talk about the other. She adds: "I don't want to be tarred with the same brush as him. I want to move on. I love my job and want to be in it for another 25 years. I already have two commendations. Also I am a friend of Moira Stuart (the black newsreader) from my time at the BBC, and I have met Doreen Lawrence (mother of murdered black teenager Stephen) a number of times. I do not want them to stop talking to me or think ill of me because of a mistake I made at 23."

In the next few weeks, perhaps even days, the Barnbrook marriage will finally come to an end when their divorce is made absolute.

"I don't really have any problem with Richard saying he is engaged," she says. "Our divorce is so close now I can almost smell it. I can hardly wait. Let's just say that if Simone Clarke buys her wedding cake now, it won't be stale if she marries Richard at the first possible opportunity."

Ah yes, Miss Clarke - the principal ballerina who is said to be Barnbrook's fiancé. If his first marriage was dysfunctional, then the omens for Barnbook's second one are hardly more encouraging. Not least as he will become stepfather to Miss Clarke's four-year-old mixed-race daughter - the product of her previous relationship with a Cuban-Chinese dancer - despite the fact that he has previously spoken out against inter-racial families.

But will the marriage to Miss Clarke take place? There has been talk in far-right circles of a recent cooling between the couple. She does not wear an engagement ring - an absence Barnbrook explained by saying it had been stolen in a burglary. Nor has she stood, as once suggested, as a BNP candidate. Some have even speculated that the relationship is just a publicity stunt. But Barnbrook's wife does not think so.

"I have met Simone. She was there when I went to see Richard to discuss our divorce. I have to say they did seem to be genuinely in love."

If that's true, then Miss Clarke will hardly have been delighted by the kiss-and-tell story which appeared in a downmarket newspaper on Sunday. Finnish-born NHS nurse Annika Tavilampi claimed the mayoral candidate had also proposed to her after they met through an internet dating site. She claimed to have found a copy of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf under the bed in which they had "romped".

But if Barnbrook's relationship with women is odd, then it is by no means the only contradiction in his personal life. For while he has been busy gaining status within a party obsessed with racial purity, his prison officer brother Stephen has no such hang-ups. Doubtless to his brother's dismay, he has had at least two long-term relationships with black women. The first was with Stephanie Waldron, a cardiac rehabilitation nurse at the world-renowned Papworth heart hospital.

Yesterday, her daughter, Natasha, described the awkward scene that took place five years ago when the family spent Christmas at the Barnbrooks' parents' home in north Lincolnshire. One evening Stephen, his girlfriend and Natasha played board games with Richard and his wife.

"Richard was very reserved, even a little frosty," recalls Natasha. "We didn't know about his politics then - they weren't discussed by the family. We found out only later when we read that he had become the British National Party leader in London. The reason for his odd mood that Christmas then became clear - it was antipathy towards us because of our colour."

Stephen has since amicably split from Ms Waldron, and is now with a Jamaican woman whom he is understood to have married. One imagines he does not vote BNP.

For Barnbrook, such revelations are certain to cause huge embarrassment within his party. A brother who has embraced multiculturalism in its most literal sense; a liberal police constable wife who detests her husband's warped ideologies; a homo-erotic past...it is all richly ironic. But unless the British voting public turns out in force on Thursday, the BNP could win that extra 0.2 per cent needed and celebrate another morale-boosting step up to the mainstream, rather than a nosedive.

And that would not be funny at all.

Daily Mail


Miss T. Fied said...

Didn't Tilda Swinton say she had no idea who Richard Barnbrook was?

Miss T. Fied said...

"He owes me a lot of money and is just starting to pay me back."

I wonder what he spent that on (hic).

Anonymous said...

What a brilliant story, it almost makes me want to buy the Mail.

Some time ago at a meeting in B & D when Dicky was as usual in his cups he was rambling on about a wife and the state of his marriage, and the charity that "they both set up" some environmental thingy which he claimed the great and glorius had given funding to.
He then went on the say the spooks had got involved.....the spooks had made other members of the charity force him of including his wife......and to top it all the spooks had then forced his wife to divorce him. He blamed all of his misfortunes in the charity and his marriage on spooks...he stated his wife had been left devestated, he given him a pledge of undying love and affection but she could not afford to cross the spooks.....
As far as those who were listening to this were concerned Dicky was already divorced, but we were all aware that he was his usuall pissed up self.

Well surprise surprise the truth will out.

Anonymous said...

"With a distinct sartorial style which worries even his most extremist supporters"

What they mean is "he dresses like a twat".

Anonymous said...

Bizarre is right!

Scott said...

With this and the NotW story earlyer, are the mainstreem press finaly wakeing up to the threat of the BNP?

"Mainstream concerns about immigration levels have long played into the BNP's grubby hands."

Could this be a coded admision that they are partly responabul for there rise in popularity?

Anonymous said...

His wife says: "In the end he said: 'If you don't like my politics you can get out.'

Nice guy

Anonymous said...

Christ, Richard Barnbrook is fucked up. But, then again so are a lot of people in the BNP.

Anonymous said...

Nothing special. He is divorced and one white immigrant woman claims (without any proof) that she fucked wiht him.

NNNPD said...

I don't like all this shit. Stuff like this just makes us as bad as the other political parties. The Simone Clark/Richard Barbrook relationship is bollocks I can tell you that for a fact. Its all just a setup to make him look okay before the mayorel elections. Of course that makes his dates with the Finnish woman okay but because it was a setup with SC it all backfired and he just looks like a fucking idiot now. I just talked with a mate in the party and he never knew abot RB having a wife in the back ground, no more did I or anyone else I know, least of all that she's police. This is all that greaseball Nick Griffins doing, him and that little gang he's got around himself that think their clever trying to manipulate the press. The only thing they can manipulate is each others dicks from all I hear. In any case Nicks days are numberde, there's already plans to boot him out when all this crap is out the way specially if Richard grts on the GLA because the party will have the money to move on a bit. Wihtout Nick Griffin, the party will grow and will maybe look a bit more sensable to most people. I know you lot don't approve of us but most of us are in it just because the other parties are crap. I'm not racist and if Nick Griffins kicked out not will the BNP be.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing about his first wife is that she attended the BNP's first ever RWB and seemed so pleased to be there.

Apparently, she even sang a song on stage as part of the entertainment.

Times change, jobs change.

Works for the Met now, after a stint in the BBC does she and doesn't wish to be identified.

Spook anyone??

Dickhead Watch said...

I'm thinking of setting up a blog dedicated to observing Richard Barnbrook and his BNP antics. I may call it 'Dickhead Watch'.

Anonymous said...

huffily insists it was an "art film"

Arse film, possibly.

Anonymous said...

BNP – experiment in surrealism gone wrong?

Antifascist said...

'Didn't Tilda Swinton say she had no idea who Richard Barnbrook was?'

So we've been told.

'He is divorced...'

Try actually reading the article before you comment.

'...because it was a setup with SC it all backfired and he just looks like a fucking idiot now.'

That's what we've always maintained: both that the 'engagement' was a fake and that Dickie looks like a fucking idiot.

'I'm not racist and if Nick Griffins kicked out not will the BNP be.'

If you're not racist, you simply don't belong in the BNP.

webeatthebnp said...

I've said this before, and I'll say it again.

If the BNP is the great stalwart voice of good sense for the finest in British tradition, why do they seem incapable of finding anyone even slightly credible to lead their party? [And I mean that broadly, I'm not just referring to NG]

The No.1 on their London list is a shambolic, troubled idiot with a wife, a fiance, and an immigrant "bit on the side"

The No.2 on their London List was of the view that women were more troubled by losing a handbag than by being raped

Up and down the country their candidates turn out to be crooks, thugs (and idiots)

And at the head of this mighty edifice is a one-eyed, bankrupted, never-managed-to-get-himself-elected-to-anything pig farmer !!!

And then people wonder why they're not making much progress.


Anonymous said...

we from inside all know Bumbrook is gay as a row of tents and he has been trying hard to convince the world he was straight since making that film while secretly picking up men in londons gay bars

Anonymous said...

while secretly picking up men in londons gay bars

Do tell more about Richard Barnbrook’s secret gay life! This issue is important given that Richard Barnbrook, in his capacity as a BNP spokesperson, has made homophobic statements. If it is true that Barnbrook does pick up men in gay bars, then his hypocrisy deserves to be exposed.

Antifascist said...

'Do tell more about Richard Barnbrook’s secret gay life! This issue is important given that Richard Barnbrook, in his capacity as a BNP spokesperson, has made homophobic statements. If it is true that Barnbrook does pick up men in gay bars, then his hypocrisy deserves to be exposed.'

Agreed - though we'd far rather you sent the information in via email. Anything like that posted in comments will either have to be liberally sprinkled with 'allegedly', 'rumour has it' or similar phrases or it isn't going to appear.

Anonymous said...

LOL - I just read the following from a BNP troll (nickname: 'fraser') on Stormfront about Richard Barnbrook's affair with an immigrant women:

It is actually nothing but positive. It scotches the gay porn director crap once and for all and makes our candidate look attractive and normal, which he is.


Anonymous said...

What a brilliant story, it almost makes me want to buy the Mail.

Hold your horses! They are only attacking the BNP as a fig-leaf for their own anti-immigrant rants! Private Eye call them Hate Mail for a reason. If you read the Mail every day you would be twisted, negative and hate-filled. No wonder their readers vote Tory!

John P said...

Well it's good that the national media is taking some interest but I think it is to little to late.

Anonymous said...

Richard Barnbrook - drinking to keep London and Britain white.

Anonymous said...

Well "fraser" obviously fancies Dicky like mad, i bet he ripped the Mail to shreds in jealousy.

Anonymous said...

So Barnbrook is a red-blooded heterosexual male (according to Griffin apologist Simon Darby on his blog)?

If Sadie Graham, as a female, had been involved in multiple relationships and serial philandering with men do you think that she would have escaped criticism and mud-slinging from the BNP leadership after the rebel's actions?

No! I don't think so. Griffin, Wingfield and Darby would have demonised her so much that she would have been portrayed as a whore and "easy".

So much for the BNP with its attempts to make itself voter-friendly with women voters.

It's still the same misogynists running the party.

Griffin and Wingfield must think themselves as rather astute and clever and believe that they can out-fox the media.

These lastest PR disasters show how arrogant and clumsy these idiots are.

Good news though for the anti-fascist campaign!

Keep on running Griffin - you're doing a fine job destroying the fascist cause!