The British National Party is to make an official complaint against Gavin Barwell, after the MP publicised one of its candidate's rants about "violent immigrants" in New Addington.
The far-right party alleges Mr Barwell breached the Data Protection Act when he sent a questionnaire, filled in by Clifford Le May, to the Advertiser nearly a year and a half ago. In the pamphlet, Mr Le May urged the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to "stop ruining our community by stuffing New Addington with violent immigrants who have no right to live among decent civilised white people". He also referred to Mr Barwell, who he ran against for the Croydon Central seat in the general election last May, as a "traitor to his race and nation".
Now Mr Barwell has received a letter from the BNP threatening to take the matter to the Information Commissioner. Mr Barwell told the Advertiser: "It's completely bizarre. I've never heard of anyone in a political party complain about their views being made public. Perhaps he is ashamed of what he said, as he should be."
In the letter, Tony Martin, the BNP's Croydon and Sutton branch organiser, wrote: "In mid 2009, Clifford Le May received a questionnaire sent out by your organisation. Cliff filled in and returned the completed questionnaire only for it to be printed in the Croydon Advertiser. Recently I have been looking into the legality of this leak and who is responsible.
"It looks illegal under the Data Protection Act 1998 and Gavin Barwell has confessed to this indiscretion on his blog. I contacted the Information Commissioner's Office and was told to contact you first before making any official complaint."
When the Advertiser contacted Mr Martin, who has replaced Charlotte Lewis as Croydon and Sutton branch organiser, he pointed out a promise made on www.croydonconservatives.com not to share information with third parties. The disclaimer, under the heading Information Collection and Use, reads: "We never sell or share information to anyone outside the Conservative Party."
Mr Martin added: "I want to get the message across that we are not prepared to be trodden on.
"The Conservatives promise never to share information but this is exactly what they did. We're not looking for compensation, but an apology."
Mr Barwell admitted the privacy disclaimer existed but added: "Were it the response of a private individual I wouldn't have released it. But this was someone running for public office, so people have a right to know his views."
After giving Mr Barwell a deadline of seven days to respond to his concerns, Mr Martin says he now intends to submit an official complaint to the Information Commissioner.
This is Croydon Today
Thanks to Supporter from Croydon for the heads-up