Army chiefs provoked fury last night after they invited a senior BNP politician to a swish do at a school.
The far-right party’s Cllr Cathy Duffy was among local politicians asked to attend a drinks and buffet reception at the Ministry of Defence’s sixth form college. Two more officials from the racist British National Party joined Duffy at the Welbeck College event, hosted by the Army Presentation Team.
Enjoying free food and drink paid for by the taxpayer, the three extremists spent the evening mingling with military personnel. The invite to the VIP event in Loughborough, Leicestershire, came from Army chief Brigadier J E Richardson, Commander of 49 (East) Brigade.
Cllr Duffy posted a long blog about the night on her website. It read: “I was delighted to have been formally invited to attend a reception and briefing at Welbeck. The evening started with a drinks reception and concluded with a finger buffet and an opportunity to chat to military personnel.”
The blunder comes at a time when the armed forces are spending tens of thousands of pounds on recruiting more people from ethnic minorities.
Anti-racism campaigners attacked the move. Matthew Collins, of Searchlight, said: “The only war the BNP want is a race war. It’s like inviting the Nazis to dinner with Winston Churchill.”
Would-be Army, Navy or RAF officers study for A-levels at Welbeck before going on to full-time military training.
The Army last night said MoD rules mean it could not discriminate between political parties and had to invite all local councillors. And the event was held during school holidays, so no students were there.
A spokesman said: “The armed forces operate a policy of zero tolerance to all forms of discrimination.”