Another British National Party councillor has resigned the party whip and will sit as an independent, as rumours surface of misappropriation by the party leadership of bequests to the party.
Graham Partner, one of two BNP members elected to North West Leicestershire District Council in May 2007, supported Eddy Butler’s failed challenge to Nick Griffin’s leadership because the party was not “being managed in an open and honest way”.
The final straw for him was Griffin’s dismissal of two members of the party’s Advisory Council and Richard Barnbrook’s decision to renounce the BNP whip on the London Assembly this week.
“On Monday I shall submit my official letter to County Hall informing them of my decision while remaining a member of the party in order to retain the right to speak and vote against its wrongful management,” wrote Partner on 13 August.
Two days earlier he had accused those BNP members who supported Griffin’s continued leadership of the party of being “morons who voted for Herr Griff” and described the leadership nomination process as: “cheating, fraudulent, despicable”.
Attacking Griffin’s dictatorship, Partner added: “His actions have brought about several court cases costing us hundreds of thousands of pounds, his arrogance towards other members and officials knows no bounds.
“He appoints lap dogs to key positions who will follow his instructions blindly and gets away with repeatedly lying over the accounts with a little help from puppet Dave [Hannam, the BNP’s incompetent treasurer].”
Meanwhile, 37 supporters of Butler’s failed leadership challenge met near Windsor on 12 August to discuss how they could “rescue” the BNP from its “inevitable failure and destruction” under Griffin’s leadership, reports Simon Bennett, the BNP’s former webmaster. They included many of the people whom Griffin has suspended for supporting Butler.
Those present blamed Griffin for the £500,000 of debts that have put the party in a dire financial state, likening him, wrote Bennett, to “the farmer who had opened the door of the chicken house to the fox, a shadowy and wily fox with a criminal past and a history of appealing for monies from donors who believe in their causes, the monies seemingly then enriching the pockets of that fox rather than being utilised for the cause. The resulting carnage, now that the fox had been allowed to virtually take over the Party by the farmer, was all too apparent.”
The fox in this tale is Jim Dowson, the man who owns the BNP – a fact first revealed by Searchlight – whose involvement with the party Butler and many other activists have vigorously condemned and want to bring to an end. Not only has he taken over the party’s assets and administration, he has been accused by many activists of bullying and threatening violence against anyone who dares to disagree with him, and a young BNP member has made allegations of sexual assault against him, which Griffin has refused to investigate.
The meeting heard that questions had been raised over bequests and other large donations that had allegedly been paid direct to the leadership. It was unclear whether the party had benefited from these bequests and probate information would be obtained to investigate these rumours.
The party has not notified any individual large donations to the Electoral Commission since the end of September 2009. Donations above £7,500 (£5,000 up to 31 December) to the central party and above £1,500 (formerly £1,000) to accounting units or to individual officers have to be declared.
Delegates also explored how they could force an independent examination of the party’s financial records to establish whether there was any truth in the widespread allegations of financial irregularities and to “disclose where all the party’s funds had disappeared, and if there were signs of fraud”.
The meeting decided to establish a new Reform Group website and attached forum which would focus on “the rescue of the party” and provide “information which members would not get from official party channels”.
The group is also considering legal action over the BNP’s leadership nomination rules that the party leadership imposed to make it impossible for a challenger to succeed, something that Butler recently rejected despite suggesting it during his campaign. The meeting also decided to organise a class action on behalf of all the members who had been “unconstitutionally and illegally suspended”, which will put the BNP’s new constitution under the spotlight and could result in yet more legal costs for the party.
Butler himself appears not to have been present. The group intends to hold a bigger meeting in September.
Sonia Gable at HOPE not hate