Three British National Party (BNP) members from Cornwall have been suspended indefinitely for criticising leader Nick Griffin.
Parliamentary candidate James Fitton, who stood in the St Austell and Newquay constituency, has also accused the party of breaking its own constitution after he was suspended. Two other members, Peter Mullins, from Liskeard, the party's former regional organiser for the South West and Simon Bennett, from Camelford, who designed and maintained the BNP's website, have also been suspended.
In a letter from party bosses, Mr Fitton is said to have been suspended for a "serious breach of BNP code of conduct" but the letter does not state any specific reason – something Mr Fitton says is against the party's own constitution. He said: "Myself and two others in Cornwall have been suspended along with a member in Torbay and there's been members suspended in the East and West Midlands."
Section 9.9 of the BNP constitution states: "The individual member concerned should, as soon as practically possible thereafter, have in writing details of the alleged offence."
Mr Fitton also accuses the party of bending the rules to suit its own needs, after a member who joined in February became sub-region organiser for Devon and Cornwall in April. Party rules state that members are on probation for two years and are unable to attain any positions within the party during that time. All three members of the party have been vocal in their criticism of Nick Griffin in recent months and the party's attitude towards Cornish members.
Mr Bennett, a member for five years, has accused Mr Griffin of "entrenching himself" as the leader. "There's been a vast majority of members up for removal, there's a climate of fear. But the truth is more important," he said.
Mr Mullins said: "There is a pyramid structure within the party and at the apex is Nick Griffin. What he says happens. He doesn't do democracy and it's virtually a dictatorship. They've kissed goodbye to the whole of Cornwall and literally thrown us in the bin."
Both Mr Mullins and Mr Bennett recently attended a meeting in Leicestershire, where a vote was carried to support Eddy Butler, from Essex, as a potential challenger for the leadership.