Nick Griffin, the British National Party leader, revealed [yesterday] that he would be contesting the Barking constituency, east London, in the next general election. He made his announcement in front of television cameras on the last day of his party’s annual conference in Wigan, Greater Manchester, over the weekend of 14-15 November.
Yet a few days ago, in an appeal for donations to launch the party’s “run-up campaign to the general election”, he wrote: “In this next General Election I will be standing in Thurrock where the split vote between the old parties means we could win a Parliamentary seat with just 27% of the vote”.
No candidate may stand in more than one constituency at a general election. So Griffin must have been lying, either in the begging letter or at the party’s conference.
Potential donors to the fascist party should note that this would not be the first time the BNP has lied in a fundraising appeal. The party claimed to have bought its “truth truck”, an advertising lorry, last year after a successful appeal to supporters to raise the £26,550 needed. Yet when bailiffs tried to enforce a county court judgment against the BNP, the party claimed it did not own the vehicle.
It was in Thurrock that Griffin held his first press conference after his disastrous performance in Question Time on 22 October. Claiming that the programme should not have been filmed in London, because the city was “no longer British”, he said: “Why not come down and do it in Thurrock …?”
Griffin linked his new choice of Barking for the general election with the party’s attempt to take over Barking and Dagenham council in the May 2010 elections. The party currently has 12 councillors there, the largest BNP council group in the country. The party has largely been ineffective against the huge Labour majority and many of its representatives rarely attend meetings.
According to Griffin, the council campaign will be spearheaded by Richard Barnbrook, the BNP’s sole London Assembly member, who is currently appealing against his suspension from the council for bringing his office into disrepute by inventing a series of murders in the borough. Robert Bailey, the BNP’s leader on Barking and Dagenham council and the party’s London organiser, appears to have been sidelined.
Barnbrook’s wider ambitions have also been swept aside. At the end of September he rented a huge billboard by the side of the A406 in Barking, at great expense, to announce that it was “Barnbrook for Barking”. On his blog he explained in no uncertain terms: “I, Richard Barnbrook am going to be Barking’s next MP! I’m the candidate for the British National Party …”. Lying that he had lived in the constituency for six years, he proclaimed: “Back me, Richard Barnbrook, Barking’s next MP”.
Griffin and Barnbook campaigned side by side apparently without animosity in the recent Glasgow North East parliamentary by-election. How Griffin bought Barnbrook out is not known.
Nick Lowles, editor of Searchlight, said Griffin’s decision to stand, coupled with the BNP’s prior local success in the area, made Barking “the front line” of efforts to combat the party’s rise. “It’s going to be difficult for him to win, but they have got a lot of councillors so we can’t be complacent,” he said.
“There have been some demographic changes since the last election which could limit the BNP’s success in Barking. But a lot depends on getting people out to vote, so it’s vital we let the people of Barking know exactly who Nick Griffin is.”
Hope not hate