The son of George Carman, QC, one of the Britain’s most notable barristers, is to take on Nick Griffin in the fight for Barking at the general election.
The Times has learnt that Dominic Carman, the unauthorised biographer of the British National Party leader, is to stand as a candidate for the Liberal Democrats in the East London constituency. The BNP hopes to topple Margaret Hodge, the Labour incumbent, to claim its first parliamentary seat.
Mr Carman said that his father, a leading barrister of the 1980s and 1990s who died in 2001, would have approved of his decision to run. He told The Times: “I would love to have seen my father have Nick Griffin in the witness box for two or three days and really take him apart: piece by piece, line by line, speech by speech.
“It would have a been a great pleasure and he would have done an excellent job. I just hope I can do a decent job exposing Nick Griffin to a wider audience than would be the case.”
Mr Carman said that his only motivation for running was to try to stop Mr Griffin from taking the seat. He intends to use information from his research into the biography to attack his opponent. It was never released because publishers were unwilling to associate their brand with the BNP leader.
“I will put it to good use in exposing Griffin beyond what’s already been in the public domain,” he said. “It’s very important to fight a strong campaign and it will be critical to challenge Nick Griffin every step of the way. I want to make people think long and hard about voting for him in Barking. It’s very, very important.”
Mr Carman has more than 20 hours of videotaped interviews with Mr Griffin over two years from 2003. He has interviewed Mr Griffin’s family and associates, including the National Front leaders who shaped his views, on numerous occasions. “I do not claim to have a silver bullet — one specific piece of info so damaging that Nick Griffin would lose all credibility. But the cumulative information I have can be presented in such a way ... it will make him uncomfortable.”
Mr Carman hit the headlines in 2002 when he wrote a biography of his father, who was regarded as one of the country’s best libel barristers. George Carman, QC, was famed for his presence in the courtroom and his ability to captivate a jury. However, his public image changed after his death with the publication of the “warts and all” biography by his son. It detailed the destructive personal side of his father’s life with accounts of a chain-smoking alcoholic who beat his wives.
Mr Carman, who joined the Lib Dems last year, said that he would fight the campaign on local issues such as jobs and housing. “I’m not going to stand and say nothing against the Labour Government, I will argue Liberal Democrat policies in a normal way. But I’m not going to select Margaret Hodge for special criticism. I am going to select Nick Griffin for that.”
He said that his chances of winning the seat were slim. The BNP took almost 17 per cent of the vote in the 2005 general election, just behind the Conservatives, while the Lib Dems achieved 11 per cent. “I have to do what I can,” he said. “This is very important.”
His campaign will start tomorrow morning in Barking.