The British National Party is set to face allegations this week that it is a dangerous, bankrupt and fraudulent organisation.
An unfair dismissal case brought by a disgruntled ex-employee could put the final nail in the coffin of the crumbling party.
The far-right organisation’s head Nick Griffin is expected to give evidence at the hearing in Belfast this week which has allegations of theft and kidnapping hanging over it. Griffin is expected to be surrounded by strong security when he makes his Belfast trip.
It comes as furious creditors claim they are owed up to £700,000 by the party. A claim denied by the BNP. Former administrator Marian Thomas says she was sacked after she raised concerns over allegedly fraudulent claims made by the BNP. She alleges that she was instructed by the party’s treasurer to alter invoices and stamp an outstanding invoice as “paid”. This is denied by the treasurer.
She says the invoices were submitted to the Electoral Commission and had been altered in order for it to appear that the BNP had complied with the law on election spending. Thomas claimed on BBC’s Panorama earlier this month that she was held against her will by BNP “heavies” demanding she hand over incriminating documents.
The hearing comes as the BNP, which has been rocked by savage infighting, holds its annual conference in a secret venue believed to be in Liverpool this weekend. The party is under investigation by the European Union and the Met Police for alleged fraud and breaches of electoral law.
Simon Cressy, from the anti- fascist group Hope Not Hate, says time is running out for the BNP. He said: “We’ve been saying for ages the BNP is as financially bankrupt as it is morally.”
Last month Griffin’s Skoda was repossessed by bailiffs acting on a court order. Weeks earlier BNP manager Adam Walker was ordered to pay £25,000 to a former employee after a judge ruled senior officials could be held responsible for the party debt.
A number of small businesses in Northern Ireland, where the BNP had offices until last Christmas, say they are owed large sums of money. Belfast-based businessman and anti-abortion campaigner Jim Dowson, the BNP’s former financial guru, claims he is owed more than £160,000 by the party, which he has left. It has also been alleged that families of senior BNP members were visited by “Ulster heavies” looking for cash.
Nine people in Belfast and two in England were arrested on suspicion of blackmail but charges were later dropped.
Cressy said: “The BNP is in a desperate mess. After a disaster at the 2010 General and council elections it has turned in on itself. Membership has shrunk to below 7,000 and not even the party’s two MEPs talk to each other, preferring to fight a bitter war of words over the internet and Twitter. It is tearing the party apart.”
Griffin has refuted the kidnap allegations. He said: “Ms Thomas was made redundant by the party and has made a claim to an employment tribunal. Curiously, she has made no mention of this in her ET1 form. Nor am I aware of any complaint ever having been made to the police. She has never complained to me. If such a complaint was made, it seems bizarre that no one was ever approached about it.”