The British National Party has sent out a series of memos appealing for donations in a move that raises further questions about the finances of the party.
Political organisers as well as its leader, Nick Griffin, have sent “desperate” pleas for relatively small sums of money, despite claims by the BNP that it has £500,000 for the European and county council elections.
Mr Griffin sent an e-mail this week saying that the party needed to raise £5,000 to pay for hardware for its website that it “simply could not afford”.
“I have personally donated £250 to this appeal to set things in motion,” he wrote.
Another memo from Bob Bailey, the London organiser for the party, said that it had been unable to raise enough funds to produce an A4 leaflet. “We desperately need donations no matter how small,” he wrote.
The party has declared donations of £21,132 for the first quarter of this year. Only those of more than £5,000 must be submitted to the Electoral Commission and Mr Griffin said that the remainder of its funding for the campaign came from “ordinary” Britons.
However Searchlight, the organisation that campaigns against the BNP, claimed that the party had exaggerated its resources and was “essentially running a paper campaign”.
The accusation was denied by Mr Griffin, who told The Times: “The leaflets have gone out, the election broadcasts have been made. It’s everywhere. It’s a huge campaign.”
Further questions were raised about the party’s funding after Mr Griffin admitted that he paid a £5,000 political donation into his personal bank account without declaring it.
The Electoral Commission confirmed that it was reviewing the donation, which appeared to come from an elderly woman who wished to remain anonymous. Mr Griffin said that he had passed the money to Solidarity, a trade union, because it would have been declared if given to the party.