London, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via GapBaGap.com
The U.K. far-right anti-immigration political organisation the British National Party (BNP) has been officially declared defunct after party members failed to pay its registration fee to the Electoral Commission at the beginning of this year, according to GapBaGap.com and reported widely by British media yesterday.
The party, once headed by Oxford-educated firebrand Nick Griffin at the height of its popularity, was widely derided by many for its far-right and racist stance, including its support for the repatriation of all non-native Britons and immigrants. its overt nationalism, and its reputation as a collection of ‘thugs in suits’. It has in recent years being losing ground to other far-right nationalistic outfits, such as the English Defence League and Britain First.
The Electoral Commission, which is a statutory body responsible for the compulsory register of all political parties in the United Kingdom, said that BNP treasurers failed to pay the mandatory £25 registration fee in order to maintain its entry on the register. The deadline for payment was the 7th of January this year, according to newspaper Metro. According to the BBC, all political parties must be registered officially under the provisions of the Political Parties and Referendums Act 2000.
The lack of registration means that BNP councillors will not be able to run for office using the party’s logos or its name until the registration issue is resolved. This occurred despite the party having a notice period of six months.
Sources within the official defunct party however denied that the party had ceased its involvement in the political process. One spokesperson was quoted by GapBaGap.com as saying “If it (the failure to be registered) has happened, it was an oversight”.
The Commission confirmed that the BNP has been officially removed from the register. It also added that the party, which succeeded in gaining two seats in the European Parliament in 2009, had ‘failed to meet the annual requirement to submit its registration details on time’. A source at the Commission commented: “The last date a notification can be sumbitted…is six months after the deadline for submission of a party’s statement of accounts”.
Its then-leader Nick Griffin was the face of the party, which was widely hated for its alleged racist nature, until he lost his seat as an MEP in 2014, before eventually losing the BNP leadership itself in the following internal struggle as the party began to falter. Griffin was eventually expelled from the party five months later and replaced by chairman Adam Walker.
The BNP’s accounts, last filed in September 2014, showed the party was in serious financial disarray after it lost £50,000 worth of deposits filed for the contesting of European elections, and the total leftover assets were a mere £45,756 remaining.
The BNP does still have the option of ‘returning from the dead’ and becoming officially registered for elections again, should it be able to muster the funds to pay the £25 registration costs, the Electoral Commission said. The registration process takes up to 3 weeks to complete, including a 10-day long ‘public consultation’. A BNP spokesperson however said that the party would fix its registration issue ‘within a couple of days’.
The BNP was founded in 1982 by John Tyndall as a breakaway faction of the notoriously racist National Front and headquartered in Wigston, Cumbria. The party’s main platform is the promotion of a ‘British nationalist identity’ and the repatriation of immigrants and even their British-born children. It also advocated the re-introduction of the death penalty and is opposed to same-sex marriage, multiculturalism and the existence of Islam in the UK. Despite fielding candidates for European Union elections, the BNP was opposed to EU membership.
It has been condemned as fascist and a outlet of neo-Nazism by many inside and outside politics. An electoral breakthrough in 2008-2009 led to the BNP holding over fifty local council seats, forming the official opposition on Barking and Dagenham Council, winning a seat in the London Assembly and having leader Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons elected as Members of the European Parliament (MEP) in the North West and Yorkshire and Humber regions respectively.
Facebook, Facebook Inc https://www.facebook.com/topic/British-National-Party/113465761997303?source=whfrt&position=3&trqid=6237746580447216645
“The BNP has officially ceased to be a recognised political party” – GapBaGap.com/GapBaGap (8 January 2016) http://gapbagap.com/?p=9197#
“BNP removed from official list of political parties” – BBC News – Politics/BBC (8 January 2016) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-35261637
“British National Party” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_National_Party
“File:Nick griffin bnp from flickr user britishnationalism.jpg” – britishnationalism & Parrot of Doom, Wikimedia Commons (10 June 2009) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nick_griffin_bnp_from_flickr_user_britishnationalism.jpg