Failure to act can lead to possible court injunction
29th January 2010: Six months after British National Party leader Nick Griffin claimed an "all-white" Britain was not his party’s agenda and denied his party was fascist, it was given one last chance to scrap its “whites-only membership policy” or face a possible court injunction
Griffin was told at Central London County Court that a new party constitution, complying with race relations laws, must be agreed upon at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) due to be held in two weeks’ time.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has already made it clear that Britain’s far-right British National Party, with “all white membership" can face a legal challenge to its membership rules and constitution, as these may breach the racial discrimination laws.
The government’s equality watchdog had asserted the BNP must provide written undertakings that it would make changes to its criteria, or face a legal injunction.
The Commission is even insisting that the proposed amended version is still discriminatory, although in a less direct manner.
John Wadham of the EHRC said the amended version displayed indirect discrimination as opposed to direct discrimination. He added there was not that much of an improvement.
The Commission is insisting that making potential members agree to support the "unity and integrity of the indigenous British" will prevent some people from joining the party.
As of now the matter stands adjourned with a Judge giving the BNP an opportunity to have its EGM. The Judge has also ordered the BNP to pay £12,500 as costs relating to adjourned session.
The EGM is scheduled to take place on February 14. But its location is so far a secret following apprehensions of disruption.
As Griffin emerged, ugly scenes were witnessed outside Central London County Court. Raising slogans of "dirty racist" and "Nazi scum", anti-racism campaigners clashed with the BNP leader’s bodyguards.
Even as the angry chants drowned his statement, Griffin said "coloured people" would be allowed to join his party, if they agreed with the BNP’s policies.
Claiming to have received complaints on BNP’s constitution and membership criteria, the EHRC’s letter to Griffin had earlier said: "As a political party with elected representatives providing leadership within Britain, you will appreciate the importance of the BNP operating a lawful membership policy that complies both on paper and in practice with the (race relations) Act”.
The party has all along campaigned for a halt to immigration; and has been asking for voluntary repatriation of immigrants, besides British withdrawal from the European Union.