Greater London authority investigates allegation that Richard Barnbrook wrongly claimed that three murders had taken place in his borough
Richard Barnbrook, the BNP's only member in the London assembly, is under investigation by the Greater London authority after he was accused of wrongly alleging that three murders had taken place in his borough.
Barnbrook, GLA member for Barking and Dagenham, claimed in September that a girl was killed within the borough three weeks before. He also claimed that within the same timeframe, two other people were murdered in knife attacks.
He made the claims while accusing Boris Johnson, the London mayor, and councils of failing to do enough to tackle knife crime in the capital.
Barnbrook made the allegations on a YouTube video, posted on his website as part of an attack on local authorities' action against knife crime
The GLA's standards subcommittee decided last month to refer the allegation to the monitoring officer for further investigation after viewing the broadcast. Under section five of the code, London assembly members are warned they must not conduct themselves in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing their office or authority into disrepute.
Barnbrook, also a member of the 11-strong BNP group at Barking and Dagenham council, could be suspended by the GLA for up to six months if the complaint is upheld against him, or face tougher sanctions at the hands of the adjudication panel for England.
Valerie Rush, executive member of Barking and Dagenham with responsibility for safer neighbourhoods and policing, lodged the complaint against Barnbrook with the standards committees of both her own council and the GLA for allegedly bringing his position as an assembly member into "disrepute" and seeking to "damage the reputation of the GLA and its elected members as well as Barking & Dagenham council".
Rush alleged in her complaint that Barnbrook's claim over the murder of a young girl was "an absolute lie".
"He also goes on to claim a further two murders in the borough in the last two weeks, which is also a lie," she added.
Boris Johnson, the London mayor, is a member of the standards committee which will be responsible for deciding Barnbrook's fate if the allegations against the BNP are proven.
Though GLA sanctions are limited up to six months' suspension, the committee has the option from next month to refer the matter directly to an independent judicial tribunal, the adjudication panel for England, which could lead to tougher sanctions up to and including being disbarred for five years.
Barnbrook was discussing knife crime fatalities and the failure of both Johnson and local authorities to "do more" to tackle the scourge of knife crime, when he said: "This year alone, up until now there has been 27 murders of youths between 13 and 17 by knife crimes with several thousand more being attacked by knives," said Barnbrook.
"In Barking and Dagenham alone three weeks ago there was a murder of a young girl, we don't know who's done it; her girlfriend was attacked inside an educational institute. Again two weeks ago there was another attack by knives on the streets of Barking and Dagenham and two people were murdered."
Barnbrook told guardian.co.uk he had been advised by the GLA not to comment while the investigation was still under way. But blogger Adam Bienkov, who first broke the story, said Barnbrook had told him that his dyslexia may have led him to have "muddled" his account.
"He also said that one of the three murders he had referred to in the video, had actually taken place 'just over the river' from Barking and Dagenham."
Barking and Dagenham police were unavailable for comment.