Far-right party told to address its entry criteria at extraordinary general meeting next month or face legal consequences
The British National party was warned tonight that it had one last chance to scrap its constitution or face legal action under equality laws. Its leader, Nick Griffin, was told at a Central London county court session that new rules must be agreed at an extraordinary general meeting to be held next month. The judgment saw BNP officials forced to rush out letters to members to alert them to the proposed changes.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission, which challenged the whites-only membership criteria last year, said the changes proposed still fell foul of equality laws. John Wadham of the EHRC said the amended version, which refers repeatedly to "indigenous British", displayed indirect discrimination as opposed to direct discrimination. "It is not that much of an improvement," he said.
Judge Paul Collins said: "I'm going to give the BNP an opportunity to have its EGM and take into account what has been said today and get it right. I do not think there will be another opportunity to get it right. This is it." He also ordered the BNP to pay the £12,500 in court costs relating to the adjourned session.
A BNP spokesman Simon Darby said the party would have to "emasculate its constitution and drop its policies and principles" to comply with the court's wishes. "This is a deadly serious attempt to put us out of business," said Darby.
Simon Assaf, 41, from Unite Against Fascism, said he was grabbed round the throat and kicked after shouting "dirty racist" at Griffin outside the court. Darby said BNP members had the right to protect themselves when attacked if the police failed to intervene.