The British National Party has launched an online assault on the two ethnic-minority members of the BBC Question Time panel who will take on Nick Griffin, the party’s leader, this week
A posting on the BNP’s website derided Bonnie Greer, the writer and broadcaster, as a “black history fabricator”, and said that Baroness Warsi, the Conservative spokeswoman for community cohesion, who is of Pakistani origin, was a “product of Tory affirmative action”. The remarks came as the BBC struck back at ministers such as Peter Hain, the Welsh Secretary, and Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, who have criticised the corporation for inviting Mr Griffin on to Question Time.
Ric Bailey, the broadcaster’s chief political adviser, said that the BBC was legally bound to include the BNP and that if Mr Johnson wanted to change that he should outlaw the party. Mr Bailey said: “If the politicians feel strongly that the BNP should not be on programmes like Question Time because of their policies, they have the ability to take things through Parliament and change the law.”
Mr Hain has written to the BBC warning that it could face legal action unless it suspended plans to have Mr Griffin on Question Time. Mr Hain argued that the BNP was “an unlawful body” because its whites-only membership rules breached discrimination legislation.
Thousands of protesters from groups such as Unite Against Fascism are expected to gather outside BBC Television Centre, in West London, when Question Time is filmed on Thursday.
Mr Bailey said that the BBC had a legal obligation to cover the BNP as it had won two seats in the European Parliament.If the party continued to enjoy similar levels of public support it is likely to be invited back on to the programme in the future.
A posting on the BNP website about Ms Greer focused on Radio 4’s In Search of the Black Madonna, which she presented in 2000. The party claimed that the show, which examined how European Catholics had worshipped in front of black icons, represented a “fabrication” of history. In an interview on Sky News Mr Griffin said of Ms Greer: “I think she’s a bit wacky when she sets out to say that Europeans, throughout the Middle Ages, worshipped black women,” he said. “So she’s got quirky aspects but the British like an eccentric so I’m sure we’ll get on all right.”