BNP leader Nick Griffin has sparked outrage after it emerged that he is to represent the European parliament at next week's climate change summit in Copenhagen
Mr Griffin has vowed to use his place on the delegation to expose the ‘somewhat dodgy’ science behind the climate change movement.
The far-right leader is allowed to attend the crucial summit as a representative of the parliament's environmental committee. But politicians and scientists reacted furiously to his presence at the meeting, which is hoping to forge a new global deal on cutting greenhouse emissions. Many scientists are warning that world temperatures will increase by more than 2C by the end of the century, triggering ice-cap melting, sea-level rises, widespread flooding, the spread of deserts and devastating storms.
But a spokesman for Mr Griffin claimed the summit had handed the BNP a major publicity coup. The spokesman said: ‘It is a global Marxist mantra that is going to be used to beat people around the head, tax us to the hilt, smash nations and impose a one world government.’
He added that it was a ‘big opportunity’ for the BNP because ‘people assume we are only a one trick pony only interested in race and immigration’.
Mr Griffin will be one of 15 representatives chosen to attend the summit on behalf of the EU in Copenhagen. However, Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband described Mr Griffin's views as 'irresponsible and wrong'. He went on to dismiss the BNP's claims that Mr Griffin would have any influence in Copenhagen.
Mr Miliband said: ‘Nick Griffin's views on climate change are irresponsible and wrong. He cannot and does not represent the views of the people of the UK or of Europe. He will not be part of the formal Copenhagen negotiations and rightly he will not be listened to by anyone with any credibility who is part of these negotiations.’
Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne, a former MEP, said: ‘Nick Griffin was always going to get some role in the Parliament, because jobs are divvied up fairly. The crying shame is that he is representing Europe at a key summit for the future of humanity, when he does not even concede that man-made climate change exists.’
Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, also an MEP, told BBC1's Andrew Marr show: ‘He won't get the right to speak. The Parliament sadly doesn't even get the right to really influence the decisions at all. So this idea that somehow Nick Griffin is going to have any real influence on what happens in Copenhagen is a myth.’
Shadow climate change secretary Greg Clark also condemned the move.
‘It is utterly ridiculous that someone who doesn't even believe in climate change should be seeking to represent Europe in Copenhagen. The BNP does not command the support of the people of Britain, let alone of the rest of Europe,’ he said.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: ‘Membership of the European parliament's delegation to Copenhagen is a matter for the European parliament. Its delegates do not represent the UK government or its views. Nick Griffin will not be part of the UK delegation.’
Tim Yeo, chairman of the Commons environmental audit committee, said the decision to choose Griffin showed the ‘bizarre way’ the parliament operated. He added: ‘If the future prosperity of the human race, in the face of climate change, depends on the contributions of people like Nick Griffin, there is little hope for any of us.’
Professor Alan Thorpe, chief executive of the Natural Environment Research Council, added: ‘The intergovernmental panel on climate change draws on the views of most of the world's leading climate scientists and they have been quite clear that the evidence shows, with a high degree of certainty, that human activities are now having a substantial effect on the climate. It is simply not the case that there is a substantial number who do not accept a link.’