A male police officer in Merseyside and a radio DJ are the first alleged BNP members to face consequences after the far-Right party's full membership list was leaked online.
TalkSport radio said this morning that it will "no longer use" chat show presenter Rod Lucas, who covered late night shifts for the station earlier this year, after he was listed among more than 12,000 BNP supporters on an internet blog posted on Sunday night. His name and contact details were included alongside his profession: 'media: radio/TV production'.
Meanwhile the Independent Police Complaints Commission confirmed this lunchtime that it had received an official referral relating to a serving Merseyside officer whose details also appeared on the list. Police are banned from becoming members of the BNP because it would damage race relations.
An IPCC spokesman said: "We received a referral from Merseyside Police at 1pm today. There is likely to be a decision this afternoon on whether the IPCC should be involved in an investigation or whether Merseyside deal with the matter internally."
The spokesman said that the local force had approached them this morning and they would await further proactive moves from other forces, although he said that the IPCC could take independent action if necessary to investigate individuals' conduct.
Peter Fahy, a spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "Membership or promotion of the BNP by any member of the police service, whether police officer or police staff, is prohibited... because such membership would be incompatible with our duty to promote equality under the Race Relations Amendment Act and would damage the confidence of minority communities. While the policy may have been controversial at the time it was enacted, in 2004, it has since been accepted by all staff and staff associations and remains unchallenged thus far."
Lucas, a Sony Award winner who once worked for Radio One, had eulogised on his website how much he had enjoyed working for his "favourite" radio station, but this morning TalkSport bosses were swift to distance themselves from him. A spokesman said: 'We won't be using him again. We had no knowledge of his association with the British National Party.'
The membership list was today removed from the original blog where it was published but remains available on other websites.
Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, initially accused former BNP staff members who have been sacked, telling the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: "We are pretty sure [that we know who leaked it]. We had a problem with a very senior former employee who left last year. He was one of the hardliners I inherited from my predecessor, he didn't like the direction the party was going in, thought it was too moderate, so he broke away taking the list with him."
The BNP won a High Court injunction against a former member in April preventing a membership list being made public. Within a couple of hours, however, the BNP appeared to be backing off from accusing its former employee, and turning its sights on the Labour Party.
"It is looking increasingly likely that this is the work of Labour Party supporters," said Simon Darby, the party spokesman. "If they have not protected their IP [internet service provider address] properly, there will be an electronic trail leading back to the culprit."
Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, showed little sympathy over the leak. She told Sky News: "It probably says something about the BNP that people don't want to have it known that they are a member."
Mr Griffin was forced to deny that Mr Darby had intended to threaten violence when he said last night that if the culprit was found, "it will turn out to be one of the most foolish things they have done in their life", and that "I wouldn't be sleeping very well tonight".
Mr Griffin told Today: "There is no threat of violence as is being reported today."
Others whose names, jobs and contact details are posted online were this morning in fear of their jobs, as the names include prison officers, who in 2002 were also explicitly banned by their employers from holding BNP membership. Teachers, doctors and serving members of the Armed Forces are among the members listed, and now face questioning from colleagues and bosses over whether belonging to a party associated with racist views is compatible with the caring ethos and emphasis on equality in their work.
The BNP said in a statement on its website that it had lodged a complaint with Dyfed-Powys Police on the grounds that the "disgraceful act of treachery" breached human rights and data protection law. Mr Griffin admitted that the Human Rights Act was one of the BNP's pet hates, but denied that using it to enforce the privacy of its members was hypocrisy.
"No, we are not in favour of the Human Rights Act, it is a European piece of legislation, but as it is there we will happily use it if we can," he said. "I don't think that European law can be used to defend freedom as the two things are fundamentally at odds, but it's certainly something that can be used to defend privacy."
Mr Griffin said that the BNP had no problem with the professions of its members being known, "but the moment any journalist goes as far as to put someone's name and address in the public domain, when precisely who holds what political opinion is a private matter, then I think that we are moving from legitimate journalism and into a very nasty piece of intimidation on behalf of the Labour Government".
Mr Griffin accused Labour of trying to persecute the BNP. This month Labour MPs began moves in the Commons to enshrine in law the right of trade unions to refuse membership to those who belong to the BNP — a right already upheld in a test case at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg involving the train drivers' union Aslef.
Many rank-and-file BNP members have turned on their party leader over the leak, in angry postings on the internet. "If Griffin cannot keep the membership secure he should resign," said a typical posting, on the NorthWestNationalists website. Possible names for who was responsible for leaking the list were being touted.
Several BNP members say they have received threatening messages since their names appeared online. One woman, who did not want to be named, told BBC Radio 5 Live she received a phone call at 11pm last night saying she should be "very careful" as someone could come to her house. John, from Redcar, told the station he had been inundated with abusive and threatening e-mails since the list was published. "They have said they will put them [his details] on as many sites as they can and they won't leave us alone," he said.
But Richard, a Blackpool hotelier, said: "We did have some strange phone calls last night but if you are a member of any party you should not be ashamed of it."
The party has warned its 39 members in Northern Ireland and two in the Irish Republic to take extra care with their personal security, because of the risk of attack from dissident Republicans.