The British National Party's boast that it's changed its rules to let non-whites join is today exposed as a sickening sham.
A senior figure in the far-right party openly told a British Asian reporter posing as a wannabe supporter he would not be welcome. Yet only weeks earlier, the BNP voted to end its ban on non-whites, with leader Nick Griffin bragging: "We are happy to accept anyone as a member providing they agree this country should remain fundamentally British."
Our reporter tried to join the BNP's branch in Barking, London - the party's heartland where Griffin plans to stand against Labour MP Margaret Hodge in the next General Election. But Christine Knight, 60 - one of a dozen BNP councillors for the borough of Barking and Dagenham - left him in no doubt about the party's real attitude to non-whites.
Knight, a close ally of BNP Greater London Authority member Richard Barnbrook, told him: "The constitution may have changed but our core members would have a problem with you." And making no attempt to hide the BNP's vile views, she said: "You are for your people and I'm for mine. You're saying you're British but you are still siding with people who are not indigenous to the country. People can say I'm a racist for saying it but it's my opinion."
During a half-hour hate-filled rant she even claimed she could not get state benefits because she was "the wrong colour". Knight - whose dad was an immigrant from Ireland - said: "I'm British, my parents were, my grandparents were, their parents were and my parents' parents' parents were. I'm trying to point out that things that we've paid out for thousands of years don't go to us any more."
She added: "My father came over here and joined the Army. My husband was born and bred here. But it's going to change - we'll be ethnic minorities in our own country."
The BNP decided to rewrite its constitution after being warned it broke discrimination laws. After the party voted for the change, Griffin said he expected a "trickle rather than a flood" of applications from blacks and Asians. The whites-only policy had been in force since the party was formed in 1982. It was challenged in the High Court by the Equality and Human Rights Commission last year and judges are due to rule on the case next week.
Griffin - who caused outrage when he appeared on BBC1's Question Time show in October - took over as BNP leader in 1999 and has since tried to tone down the party's fascist image. But he has been accused of choosing Barking to fight the next election as a way of deliberately exploiting local fears about immigration. Barking has more BNP councillors than anywhere else. And more than 40 per cent of voters backed them in wards contested by the racist party at the last local elections - compared with a Labour average of just 33 per cent.
Following The People's confrontation with Christine Knight, a BNP spokesman said last night: "As Britain's fourth biggest political party it's inevitable members will hold differing viewpoints. Should our new constitution be accepted by the High Court on Tuesday, membership will be open to all who support the policies and principles of the British National Party."