BNP leader Nick Griffin is grooming his eldest daughter to take over when he quits.
Party insiders say Griffin has quietly boosted 24-year-old Jennifer’s role, giving her huge influence over membership and finance. But they believe Griffin has no intention of relinquishing his vice-like grip on the party he has led since 1999 – despite his pledge to step down by 2013.
They expect him to copy his 82-year-old French Fascist ally Jean Marie Le Pen, who has ensured his daughter Marine is in pole position to replace him as head of France’s National Front.
Last year Jennifer was appointed a director of Adlorries, a company that controls a substantial proportion of the BNP finances, under her married name Jennifer Matthys. She was also given a crucial role as party membership secretary, working in the BNP’s main call centre in Belfast, where she lives.
Jennifer, who was leader of the BNP’s youth wing as a teenager, has been at her father’s side at important party events. Earlier this month she was used as the public face of the party in a promotional film.
Griffin’s manoeuvring risks sparking further revolt among the party faithful, who have openly questioned his leadership since the BNP was humiliated in May’s national and local elections.
Simon Bennett, the former BNP webmaster who quit his job on the eve of the election in a row over alleged corruption and incompetence, said: “He knows his days are numbered and installing his daughter is the perfect Plan B. She would be the nominal leader but he would be the real power behind the throne.”