Former BNP councillor David Exley (left) has lifted the lid on turmoil at the heart of the local party.
Last week The Press revealed how BNP councillor Colin Auty had quit the party and was set to resign his Dewsbury East seat on Kirklees Council. This week Mr Exley, ousted from Heckmondwike at May’s local elections, told The Press of some of the internal strife within the Kirklees BNP.
Mr Exley said he quit as local organiser after he was ordered by the party hierarchy to discipline Coun Auty over comments he made to newspapers when he announced he was to challenge BNP chairman Nick Griffin for the national leadership.
“I was told Colin had to be disciplined, it was more an instruction than a request,” said Mr Exley. “They said he had brought the party into disrepute but I read everything that was in the press and a lot of what he said was unpalatable but you cannot hide the truth.
“I totally refused to discipline him because he had done nothing wrong in my eyes. He stood up for what he believes in and did what he thought was correct.”
Mr Exley said that a few weeks later the national party withdrew the local party’s credit facilities when their account dipped into the red after the local elections.
Mr Exley said he had spoken to Mr Griffin about what had happened and was told he was “100 per cent” behind the decision.
“I feel this was retribution on me for not disciplining Colin Auty. They deny it but I believe it’s true.”
Last week Coun Auty told how he just failed to reach the 100 nominations needed to launch a leadership challenge, and that only two local party members backed him.
Mr Exley said: “The reason I didn’t sign Colin’s nomination was that I felt he was standing for the wrong reasons.
“If he was just standing for the leadership I would have signed but he was standing to force change. The only outcome would have been that Nick Griffin would have won by a big majority and would have a mandate.”
There have been claims that Mr Griffin runs the party in a “dictatorial” style and expelled those who disagreed with him.
Mr Exley said changes were needed in how the party was run nationally.
“Our management structure is geared up for a small party but we are not a small party anymore. Nick Griffin is, in my opinion, a brilliant politician but terrible at man-management. It has been said we are not democratic and we are a one-man dictatorship.
“I have spoken to Nick Griffin about this and put my signature to a letter from Kirklees BNP. We are not just having a gripe, we are making constructive criticisms.”
Mr Exley said he did not believe the BNP was in crisis but added: “Our local group has some serious problems and we need strong leadership. Our group has always been able to sort things out but all this has come about as a result of head office meddling. There’s no falling out within the group. It looks like there’s a massive split but that’s not the case.”
Mr Exley, who led the three-strong BNP group on Kirklees, hailed Coun Auty as “a bloody good councillor” who refused to toe the party line and stood up for local people. He was elected by the people of Dewsbury East and he is their voice. Why he wants to throw that away I don’t know.”
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