Nicholas John Griffin (born 1 March 1959) is a British politician who represented North West England as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 2009 to 2014. He served as chairman and then president of the far-right British National Party (BNP) from 1999 to 2014, when he was expelled from the party.
Born in Barnet, Griffin was educated at Woodbridge School in Suffolk. He joined the National Front at the age of 14 and, following his graduation from the University of Cambridge, became a political worker for the party. In 1980 he became a member of its governing body, and later wrote articles for several right-wing magazines. He was the National Front's candidate for the seat of Croydon North West in 1981 and 1983, but left the party in 1989. In 1995 he joined the BNP and in 1999 became its leader. He stood as the party's candidate in several elections and became a member of the European Parliament for North West England in the 2009 European elections.
In 1998, Griffin was convicted of distributing material likely to incite racial hatred, for which he received a suspended prison sentence. In 2006 he was acquitted of separate charges of inciting racial hatred. Griffin has been criticised for many of his comments on political, social, ethical and religious matters, but after becoming leader of the BNP he sought to distance himself from some of his previously held positions, which included Holocaust denial. In recent years, events where Griffin has been invited to participate in public debates or political discussions have proven controversial and often resulted in protests and cancellations.
Griffin at a BNP conference, 2009
|President of the British National Party|
21 July 2014 – 1 October 2014
|Chairman of the British National Party|
27 September 1999 – 21 July 2014
|Preceded by||John Tyndall|
|Succeeded by||Adam Walker|
|Member of the European Parliament|
for North West England
4 June 2009 – 2 July 2014
|Preceded by||Den Dover|
|Succeeded by||Louise Bours|
Nicholas John Griffin
1 March 1959
|Political party||British National Party (1995–2014)|
National Front (1974–1989)
|Relations||Edgar Griffin (father)|
Jean Griffin (mother)
|Residence||Llanerfyl, Powys, Wales|
|Alma mater||Downing College, Cambridge|
The son of former Conservative councillor Edgar Griffin (who was expelled from the Conservatives amid accusations of racism) and his wife Jean, Nicholas John Griffin was born on 1 March 1959 in Barnet and moved to Southwold in Suffolk aged eight. He was educated at Woodbridge School before winning a sixth–form scholarship to the independent Saint Felix School in Southwold, one of only two boys in the all-girls school.
Griffin read Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf when he was 14, and "found all but one chapter extremely boring". He joined the National Front in 1974, while he was still 14, though he had to pretend he was 15, and at the age of 16 is reported to have stayed at the home of National Front organiser Martin Webster. In a four-page leaflet written in 1999, Webster claimed to have had a homosexual relationship with Griffin, then the BNP's publicity director. Griffin has denied any such relationship.
From 1977, Griffin studied history, then law, at Downing College, Cambridge. His affiliation with the National Front was revealed during a Cambridge Union debate, and his photograph was published in a student newspaper. He later founded the Young National Front Student organisation. He graduated with a second-class honours degree in law (2:2), and a boxing blue, having taken up the sport following a brawl in Lewisham with a member of an anti-fascist party. He boxed three times against Oxford in the annual Varsity match, winning twice and losing once. In an interview with The Independent, he said he gave it up because of a hand injury. He is a fan of Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe, and an admirer of Amir Khan.
Following his graduation, Griffin became a political worker at the National Front headquarters. As a teenager he had accompanied his father to a National Front meeting, and by 1978, he was a national organiser for the party. He helped set up the White Noise Music Club in 1979, and several years later worked with white power skinhead band, Skrewdriver. In 1980, he became a member of the party's governing body, the National Directorate, and in the same year launched Nationalism Today with the aid of Joe Pearce, then editor of the NF youth paper Bulldog. As a National Front member, Griffin contested the seat of Croydon North West twice, in the 1981 by-election and 1983 general election, securing 1.2% and 0.9% of the vote.
Membership of the National Front declined significantly following the election of the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher. As a result, the party became more radicalised, and a dissatisfied Griffin, along with fellow NF activists Derek Holland and Patrick Harrington, began to embrace the ideals of Italian fascist Roberto Fiore, who had arrived in the UK in 1980. By 1983, the group had broken away to form the NF Political Soldier faction, which advocated a revival of country "values" and a return to feudalism with the establishment of nationalist communes. Writing for Bulldog in 1985, Griffin praised the black separatist Louis Farrakhan, but his comments were unpopular with some members of the party. He also attempted to form alliances with Libya's Muammar al-Gaddafi and Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini, and praised the efforts of Welsh nationalist movement Meibion Glyndŵr.
Following a disagreement with Harrington (who subsequently formed the Third Way), and objections over the direction the party was heading, in 1989, Griffin left the National Front. Along with Holland and Fiore, he helped form the International Third Position (ITP), a development of the Political Soldier movement, but left the organisation in 1990. In the same year, he lost his left eye when a discarded shotgun cartridge exploded in a pile of burning wood, since when he has worn a glass eye. The accident left him unable to work, and owing to other financial problems he subsequently petitioned for bankruptcy (the accident occurred in France, where he later lost money in a failed business project). For several years thereafter, he abstained from politics and was supported financially by his parents. He later stewarded a public Holocaust denial meeting hosted by David Irving.
Griffin re-entered politics in 1993 and, in 1995, at the behest of John Tyndall, joined the British National Party (BNP). He also became editor of two right-wing magazines owned by Tyndall, Spearhead and The Rune. Referring to the election of the BNP's first councillor, Derek Beackon, at a 1993 council by-election in Millwall, he wrote:
The electors of Millwall did not back a post modernist rightist party, but what they perceived to be a strong, disciplined organisation with the ability to back up its slogan "Defend Rights for Whites" with well-directed boots and fists.
Tyndall, also previously in the National Front, had founded the BNP in 1982, but his "brutal, streetfighting background" and admiration for Hitler and the Nazis had made any kind of respectability impossible. In his 1999 leadership campaign, Griffin embarked on a strategy to make the party electable, by taking it away from Tyndall's extremist image. He was helped by Tyndall's lack of familiarity with the mainstream media, and in the party's September election he defeated Tyndall to become head of the BNP. One of Griffin's changes included moderating the party's emphasis on the removal of multiculturalism, a policy it claims has a destructive influence on both immigrant and British cultures. Griffin pledged to eliminate "the three Hs: hobbyism, hard talk and Hitler". This realignment was designed to position the BNP alongside successful European far-right groups, such as the French Front National. Street protests were replaced by electoral campaigning, and some policies were moderated (the compulsory repatriation of ethnic minorities was instead made voluntary). Other policies included the introduction of capital punishment for paedophiles, rapists, drug dealers and some murderers, and corporal punishment for less serious crimes such as juvenile delinquency. Griffin's image as a Cambridge-educated family man was in contrast to the extremist image presented by the BNP under Tyndall's leadership. In October 1999, Nick Griffin, supported by Tony Lecomber stood against Tyndall for leadership of the BNP. John Tyndall received just 411 (30%) of the votes, while Griffin the majority, 70%.
Griffin has stood as his party's candidate in several English elections since joining the BNP. In 2000, he stood in West Bromwich West, in a by-election triggered by the resignation of Betty Boothroyd. He came fourth, with 794 votes (4.21% of those cast). Following the Oldham race riots he ran in Oldham West and Royton in the 2001 general election. He received 6,552 votes (16%), coming third ahead of the Liberal Democrats, but closely behind the second place Conservatives, who received 7,076 votes. He again stood for election in the 2003 Oldham Council election, for a seat representing the Chadderton North ward. He came second to the Labour candidate, receiving 993 votes (28%). In the 2004 European Parliament election, when he was the BNP candidate for the North West England constituency, the party received 134,959 votes (6.4% of those cast), but won no seats. In the 2005 general election he contested Keighley in West Yorkshire, and polled 4,240 votes (9.2%), finishing in fourth place.
Griffin was the BNP candidate in the 2007 Welsh National Assembly Elections, in the South Wales West region. The BNP received 8,993 votes (5.5% of those cast), behind the Labour party's 58,347 votes (35.8%). In October 2007, he was an unsuccessful candidate in the Thurrock Council election. In November 2008, the entire membership list of the BNP was posted on the Internet (though the list may have included lapsed members of the party and people who had expressed an interest in joining the party, but had not signed up). Griffin claimed that he knew the identity of the individual responsible, describing him as a hard-line senior employee who had left the party in the previous year. He welcomed the publicity that the story generated, using it to describe the common perception of the average BNP member as a "skinhead oik" as untrue.
He was elected as a member of the European Parliament for North West England in the 2009 European Elections. The BNP polled 943,598 votes (6.2%), gaining two MEPs. Griffin and fellow MEP Andrew Brons were subsequently pelted with eggs as they attempted to stage a celebratory press conference outside the Houses of Parliament. A second venue – a public house near Manchester – was chosen the following day. A line of police blocked a large group of protesters, who chanted "No platform for Nazi Nick" and "Nazi scum off our streets". Griffin viewed the election as an important victory, claiming that his party had been demonised and blocked from holding public meetings. "In Oldham alone there have been hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on employing bogus community workers to keep us out. To triumph against that level of pressure as a political party has never been done before."
In May 2009, he was invited by the BNP representative on the London Assembly, Richard Barnbrook, to accompany him to a Buckingham Palace garden party hosted by Queen Elizabeth II. The invitation prompted objections from several organisations and public figures, including the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight. Griffin declined this first invitation, out of fear of embarrassing the Queen via association, but when invited personally in 2010 he accepted:
This event shows just how far this party has come in the last few years but I won't be at the Palace for myself or my family. No! I will be there to represent the patriots who made this possible; I'll be there for you. I'll be there for all the stout-hearted men and women who down through the turbulent years tramped the streets with me in all weathers knocking doors, and those who ran the gauntlets of hate wherever we went.
The Palace later decided to deny Griffin entry to the event, claiming that he had used his invitation "for party political purpose through the media", and citing security concerns. Griffin claimed the decision was an "absolute scandal", and appeared to be "a rule invented for me".
In September 2009, he appealed to party activists for £150,000 of extra funding for the BNP. In the letter, he said that the party's ailing fortunes were a direct result of "attacks on the party". He also defended questions by the Electoral Commission about the transparency of BNP funding. In November 2009, Griffin was a witness at the trial of an Asian man, Tauriq Khalid, at Preston Crown Court. The prosecution claimed that in November 2008 Khalid repeatedly drove past a demonstration that Griffin was attending, and on the second occasion shouted "white bastards". Khalid admitted shouting derisory comments at Griffin and other demonstrators, telling the jury he shouted "Nick Griffin, you fucking wanker" and "Get the fuck out of Burnley, you're not welcome here", but denied shouting "white bastard". Griffin gave evidence against Khalid, and affirmed that Khalid had shouted "white bastard" at him. Griffin said the man "leaned out of the car and pointed at me and made a gun and gang gesture", and that he threatened him by shouting "I'm going to ...". Griffin said he had left the demonstration early, fearing for his safety. The 23-year-old defendant denied his comments had any racial intent, and was found not guilty. Griffin later commented "I think it's unfortunate and I think it's wrong, but that's the jury's right. They saw all the evidence, I accept their decision. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it."
In the 2010 general election he contested the Barking constituency polling 6,620 votes and finishing in third place. In 2011, following the loss of many of the council seats the BNP held in England, Griffin narrowly survived a leadership challenge.
In 2010, Griffin announced that by 2013 he would stand down as leader, to focus on his European Parliament election campaign. He lost his seat in Europe in the May 2014 European election and stepped down as BNP leader on 19 July 2014, becoming the organisation's president. But on 1 October, the party announced that it had expelled Griffin, who, it claimed, was "deliberately fabricating a crisis" and leaking "damaging and defamatory allegations". Following his departure from the BNP, he founded the British Unity Party.
In 1998, Griffin was convicted of violating section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986, relating to the offence of 'publishing or distributing racially inflammatory written material' in issue 12 of The Rune, published in 1996. Griffin's comments in the magazine were reported to the police by Alex Carlile, then the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire. Following a police raid at Griffin's home, he was charged with distributing material likely to incite racial hatred. Fellow BNP member Paul Ballard was also charged, but entered a guilty plea and did not stand trial. Griffin pleaded not guilty, and was tried at Harrow Crown Court. He called the French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and the nationalist Osiris Akkebala as witnesses, was found guilty and given a nine-month sentence, suspended for two years, and a £2,300 fine. Ballard was given a six-month sentence, also suspended for two years. He said:
I am well aware that the orthodox opinion is that six million Jews were gassed and cremated and turned into lampshades. Orthodox opinion also once held that the world is flat.
Griffin claimed that the law under which he was convicted was an unjust law and he therefore had no obligation to follow it. He was secretly recorded by the ITV programme The Cook Report in 1997 describing Carlile as "this bloody Jew ... whose only claim is that his grandparents died in the Holocaust".
Transcripts released under a 2014 Freedom of Information (FOI) request by The Guardian claimed that everything he did could be summed up as follows: "We must secure the existence of our race and a future for white children. Everything I do is related to building a nationalist movement through which peaceful persuasion and through the ballot box can place us in a position whereby those 14 words can be carried out." He reiterated his contention of Jewish control over the media, as well as his prior stance on Holocaust denial, and said that his aim was to "[take] political power so as to be able to institute changes, to undo the population shift which has taken place since 1948 with the first Immigration Act, to peacefully and as humanely as possible reverse that and to return Britain to being a homogeneous white nation".
On 14 December 2004, Griffin was arrested at his home in Wales, on suspicion of incitement to racial hatred, over remarks he made about Islam in an undercover BBC documentary titled The Secret Agent. He was questioned at a police station in Halifax, West Yorkshire, before being freed on police bail. He said that the arrest was "an electoral scam to get the Muslim block vote back to the Labour party" and that the Labour government was attempting to influence the results of the following year's general election.
Griffin's arrest was made two days after those of John Tyndall and several other people, over remarks they had made in the same programme. Following its broadcast on 15 July 2004, the police began an investigation into the programme's contents. The following April he was charged with four offences of using words or behaviour intended or likely to stir up racial hatred. The trial began in January 2006. Griffin stood alongside fellow party activist Mark Collett, who faced similar charges. Prosecuting, Rodney Jameson QC told the jury of six speeches that the accused had made in the Reservoir Tavern in Keighley on 19 January 2004. Reading excerpts from them, he claimed that they included threatening, abusive and insulting words directed at "people of Asian ethnicity", with the intention of "stirring up racial hatred".
Griffin was also accused of calling murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence a drug dealer and bully who stole younger pupils' dinner money. In the witness box he defended himself by quoting passages from the Qur'an, saying that his comments describing Islam as a "vicious, wicked faith" were attacking not a race, but a religion. During the two-week trial he used a laptop to post daily updates on a blog on the BNP's website. In his closing address, defence barrister Timothy King QC said:
The British National Party is a legal, political entity. It has a right in a democratic society to put forward ideas and policies which some might find uncomfortable and some might find even offensive. There has been a tendency in this case to over-analyse speeches, to take one line here and one line there. You have got to look at the overall impact of these speeches—remember the context of each speech.
Griffin and Collett were cleared of half the charges against them—the jury remained divided on the other charges, and a retrial was ordered. On 10 November 2006, after five hours of deliberations, the jury cleared them of all charges. They were met outside the court by about 200 supporters, who Griffin addressed with a megaphone. He attacked Tony Blair and the BBC, and defended the BNP's right to freedom of speech. BNP Deputy Chairman Simon Darby later claimed that had Griffin been convicted, the BNP leader planned to go on hunger strike.
Following his election as BNP leader, Griffin was invited to participate in debates at several universities. In November 2002, the Cambridge Union Society invited him to take part in a debate the following January. Titled "This house believes that Islam is a threat to the west", the resolution was controversial; alongside more moderate speakers, one of those invited was Abu Hamza al-Masri, a fundamentalist Muslim cleric. Some participants threatened to withdraw, and several official bodies criticised the invitations. The two had met earlier in the year, in a debate chaired by Rod Liddle, then editor of BBC Radio 4's Today programme. He was also invited by the Cambridge Forum to a debate on extremism in December 2002, with Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Öpik. The venue was changed twice after protests from property owners, but the threat of a violent confrontation between the Anti-Nazi League and BNP supporters forced the president of the Cambridge Forum, Chris Paley, to cancel the event. Paley called the decision an "own goal" for the values of free speech, and Öpik criticised it, emphasising his belief in "people's right to make their own decisions in a democracy".
In February 2005, Griffin was asked to take part in a debate on multiculturalism at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. He was invited by the president of the students' debating society, who said "We believe that the only way to get the truth of what the BNP are saying and to combat them is to do it in public in a debate." The move was attacked by anti-racist groups, some of whom refused to participate in the discussion. Griffin said "I am coming up because I was invited by the students at the university because they have a debate on an intelligent subject on which I have something to say. The people against it are the usual bunch of people who cannot win the argument and refuse to stand on a platform." The society withdrew the invitation before the event was to take place.
In May 2007, Griffin was invited to address a meeting at the University of Bath by politics student and BNP youth leader Danny Lake. Lake wanted Griffin to visit the university and explain the BNP's policies to lecturers and students. The invitation was viewed by some as an attempt by the party to establish a foothold on the university campus. Eleven union general secretaries wrote to the university's vice-chancellor and asked her to reconsider the decision to allow the meeting. A large protest was planned, and following students' concerns over their personal safety, the University cancelled the invitation.
Several months later, the Oxford Union invited Griffin to speak at a forum on the limits of free speech, along with other speakers including David Irving. The invitation was condemned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission head Trevor Phillips and the president of the Oxford Students' Union. The Conservative MP Dr Julian Lewis resigned his membership of the Union. A rally against the invitation was held at Oxford Town Hall on 20 November, and included the Oxford Students' Union president, the National Union of Students black students' officer, and the Trades Union Congress south east regional secretary. Representatives of Unite Against Fascism also attended, as well as the University of Oxford's Jewish student chaplain. Several Holocaust survivors spoke at the rally. Stephen Altmann-Richer, co-president of the Oxford University Jewish Society, said "I don't think these people should be invited to the Oxford Union, by having them speak, it legitimises their views ..." On the night of the debate, about 50 protesters forced their way into the venue, and a crowd of hundreds gathered outside carrying banners bearing anti-racist slogans and voicing anti-BNP chants. Police blocked the entrances to the building, and removed the protesters encamped inside. Griffin was accompanied into the premises by security guards. The event was eventually split between two rooms, with Griffin speaking in one, and Irving in the other; many Union Society members were unable to gain access. Although many present found the debate objectionable, some were supportive of both Griffin and Irving's right to freedom of speech. The Oxford Union later endorsed the debate as a success.
Griffin travelled to the United States and spoke at Clemson University and Texas A&M University, but the reception he received in October 2007 at Michigan State University was markedly different from that in the other venues. Intending to address the "overpopulation of Islamists in Europe", he was repeatedly interrupted, to the point where the event became a question and answer session. He was heckled by hostile elements of the audience, and at one point the fire alarm was activated.
On 22 October 2009, Griffin took part in the BBC's topical debate programme, Question Time, as a representative of the BNP. He appeared alongside Bonnie Greer, Jack Straw, Baroness Warsi and Chris Huhne. He was challenged by members of the studio audience, and questioned by host David Dimbleby on comments he had previously made on the Holocaust. He was also critical of Islam. His invitation followed the election of two BNP MEPs to the European Parliament, and led to significant debate over the merits of the BBC's decision. The appearance sparked a protest outside the BBC Television Centre prior to the recording of the programme, in which an estimated 500 people picketed the front entrance of the complex, many chanting anti-Nazi slogans and others trying to break into the building to stop the programme being filmed. Some got past the police and security, but were expelled. Six protesters were arrested, and three police officers were injured, one needing hospital treatment.
The programme was watched by an estimated 8.2 million viewers, more than three times the average figure for Question Time, and on a comparable level with prime time entertainment shows. Griffin's appearance dominated the following day's media; a follow-up report in the New York Times said that "the early reading by many of Britain's major newspapers was that Mr. Griffin lost heavily on points."
In a press conference held on 23 October, Griffin stated that he would make a formal complaint about the format of the programme, which he said was "... not a genuine Question Time; that was a lynch mob". He suggested that he should appear again, but that "... [we] should do it properly, and talk about the issues of the day", and added: "That audience was taken from a city that is no longer British ... That was not my country any more. Why not come down and do it in Thurrock, do it in Stoke, do it in Burnley? Do it somewhere where there are still significant numbers of English and British people, and they haven't been ethnically cleansed from their own country."
Griffin describes himself as a "moderniser", and "new nationalist", and after his election as leader of the BNP, according to The Guardian contributor Francis Wheen, was "contemptuous" of the party's traditional supporters. He has changed the BNP's traditional focus on immigration and race, to a defence of what it sees as "our traditional principles against the politically correct agenda" espoused by mainstream politicians. He has portrayed himself as a defender of free speech, and has repeatedly spoken out against multiculturalism. During 2000, he attempted to further the BNP's popular appeal by targeting specific groups, including lorry drivers—some of whom were at the time engaged in mass protests against fuel prices—and farmers. The BNP also produced a journal devoted to rural matters.
The BNP's constitution grants its chairman full executive power over all party affairs, and Griffin thus carried sole responsibility for the party's legal and financial liabilities, and had the final say in all decisions affecting the party. Griffin has frequently expressed views on Judaism, Islam and homosexuality.
Upon his election to the European Parliament Griffin unsuccessfully tried to form an alliance with right-wing parties, which would have entitled the group members to extra funding. He also held talks with other far-right European parties, such as Vlaams Belang and Jobbik. The BNP maintains ties with Roberto Fiore and fascist groups across Europe. Griffin criticised Gordon Brown's Labour government for its attitude toward the BNP, accusing it of treating elected representatives of the BNP as "second-class citizens". Following his election, in a press conference held at a public house in Manchester, he criticised the privatisation of national industries, such as the railway network, and accused MPs generally of being involved in this "... giant looting of Britain". He accused private corporations and the "ruling elite" in Britain of building a "Eurocratic state", a process he called "Mussolini fascism ... under Gordon Brown." He supported the Gurkhas, stating that the BNP would allow them and their families entry to the country for medical treatment "for as long as they needed treatment, or for as long as they lived." He also suggested the removal of 100,000 Muslims "disloyal to Britain" and their replacement with the Gurkhas.
After assuming control of the party, Griffin sought to move it away from its historic identity, although on the BBC's Newsnight on 26 June 2001 he stated that Hindus and whites had both been targeted in the "Muslim" riots of 2001, and in the August 2001 issue of Identity (a BNP publication) he claimed that radical Muslim clerics wanted "... militant Muslims to take over British cities with AK-47 rifles". When interviewed in August 2009 for RT, he distanced himself from the present-day National Front, which he claimed is "... a group of skinheads running around with no political direction, other than that we suspect which their masters give them." On The Politics Show on 9 March 2003, he appeared to accept ethnic minorities who were already legally living in the country, and, on 6 March 2008, he was again interviewed on Newsnight; when told of a poll that demonstrated that most working-class Britons were more concerned about drugs and alcohol than immigration, he linked the UK's drug problem with Islam, specifically Pakistani immigrants. His inclusion on the programme was criticised by contributor and radio presenter Jon Gaunt, who branded the decision as "pathetic". When asked by The Times about concerns that his recent success was presaged in Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech, Griffin replied:
The divisions are already there. They were created by that monstrous experiment: the multi-cultural destruction of old Britain. There is no clash between the indigenous population and, for instance, settled West Indians, Sikhs and Hindus. There is, however, an enormous correlation between high BNP votes and nearby Islamic populations. The reason for that is nothing to do with Islamophobia; it is issues such as the grooming of young English girls for sex by a criminal minority of the Muslim population ... I am now there to give political articulation to the concerns of the mainly indigenous population. The ethnic populations have always had Labour to speak up for them. Finally their neighbours have got someone who speaks up for them.
In a June 2009 interview with Channel 4 News, Griffin claimed that "There's no such thing as a black Welshman", which was criticised by Vaughan Gething, the first black president of the Welsh NUS and the Welsh TUC, and the first black candidate for the Welsh assembly. Commenting on Griffin's claim, he said "On that basis, most white people wouldn't qualify. It's quite clear that Nick Griffin just doesn't accept that black British people or black Welsh people are entitled to call themselves proper, full citizens of the country." Griffin's interview with Channel 4 News was in response to a decision by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to investigate the BNP's membership criteria, which, it stated, "appeared to discriminate on the grounds of race and colour, contrary to the Race Relations Act." He rejected claims that the BNP was "acting unlawfully" and said "... because we are here, as it was pointed out, for specific ethnic groups—it's nothing to do with colour, your reporter there said that we'll only lift a finger for white people—that's a simple lie."
Following the Admiral Duncan pub bombing by former BNP member David Copeland, Griffin stated "The TV footage of dozens of 'gay' demonstrators flaunting their perversion in front of the world's journalists showed just why so many ordinary people find these creatures so repulsive." The BNP states that, privately, homosexuality should be tolerated, but that it "should not be promoted or encouraged". It opposed the introduction of civil partnerships and wishes to ban what it perceives as the promotion of homosexuality in schools and the media. A series of messages he posted in October 2012 on the social network Twitter, regarding a discrimination claim won by a gay couple, sparked widespread opprobrium. Cambridgeshire police investigated the tweets, which included the couple's address and a suggestion that a "British Justice team" would give them "a bit of drama", but took no further action. In 2012, although he denied being "anti-gay", he claimed that civil partnerships undermined "the institution of marriage, and as a result of that, children will die over the next few years, because they'll be brought up in homes which aren't married". In 2009 he also said that: "a lot of people find the sight of two grown men kissing in public really creepy. I understand that homosexuals don't understand that but that's how a lot of us [Christians] feel." He also suggests that gay pride marches "[verge] on heterophobia which, like its twin Christianophobia, is on the rise."
Writing for The Rune, Griffin praised the wartime Waffen SS and attacked the Royal Air Force for its bombing of Nazi Germany. At Coventry Cathedral he distributed leaflets that referred to "mass murder" during the Second World War bombing of Dresden. Although unconnected, on 9 June 2009 the Royal British Legion wrote an open letter to Griffin asking him not to wear a poppy lapel badge.
In the 1990s Griffin stated his political ideology could be summed up by the Fourteen Words, which are usually quoted as: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children". During a police interview in 1998, he claimed that "everything I do is related to building a nationalist movement through which [...] those 14 words can be carried out".
In a BBC interview on 8 June 2009, Griffin claimed that "global warming is essentially a hoax" and that it "is being exploited by the liberal elite as a means of taxing and controlling us and the real crisis is peak oil". He was a representative of the European Parliament at the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference, where he repeated his claim that global warming is a hoax, and called advocates of action on climate change such as Al Gore "mass murderers" by supporting biofuels, claiming that their use would lead to the "third and the greatest famine of the modern era". A Greenpeace spokesman said, "In reality the environmental and development groups he has been disparaging have been in the forefront of concerns about biofuels. Griffin's claims that climate change is a hoax is one of many curious things going on between his ears."
His comments on the Holocaust (which he once referred to as "the Holohoax") made as an editor of The Rune demonstrate revisionism. He criticised Holocaust denier David Irving for admitting that up to four million Jews might have died in the Holocaust; he wrote "True Revisionists will not be fooled by this new twist to the sorry tale of The Hoax of the Twentieth Century." In 1997, he told an undercover journalist that he had updated Richard Verrall's booklet Did Six Million Really Die? and, in the same year, he wrote Who are the Mindbenders?, about a perceived domination of the media by Jewish figures. Despite this, the BNP had a Jewish councillor, Patricia Richardson, and spokesman Phil Edwards has stated that the party also has Jewish members. The BNP has stated that it does not deny the Holocaust, and that "Dredging up quotes from 10, 15, 20 years ago is really pathetic and, in a sense, rather fascist." In an interview with the BNP deputy leader Simon Darby, Griffin claimed that the English Defence League was a "Zionist false flag operation", and added that the organisation is "a neo-con operation". He also claimed that the EDL's activities are an attempt to provoke civil war.
In an interview with the BBC on 8 July 2009, during a discussion on European immigration, he proposed that the EU should sink boats carrying illegal immigrants, to prevent them from entering Europe. Although the interviewer, BBC correspondent Shirin Wheeler, implied that Griffin may have wished the EU to "murder people at sea", he quickly corrected her by saying "I didn't say anyone should be murdered at sea—I say boats should be sunk, they can throw them a life raft and they can go back to Libya" (a staging post for migrants from Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa).
Griffin's father, Edgar Griffin (born 1921, Brighton, East Sussex) was previously a long-standing Conservative Party member and from 1959 to 1965 a councillor for the Metropolitan Borough of St Marylebone. He also served as a councillor on Waveney District Council during the 1980s. Griffin's mother, Jean (née Thomas), whom Edgar married in 1950, was an unsuccessful BNP candidate for Enfield North in the 1997 general election, in Chingford & Woodford Green for the 2001 general election and for London in the 1999 European elections. Nick Griffin has a sister.
Griffin lives with his family in a farmhouse in Llanerfyl, near Welshpool, in Wales. He is married to Jackie Griffin, a former nurse who also acts as his assistant; the couple have four children, some of whom have been actively involved with the party. He was declared bankrupt in January 2014. In March 2017, Griffin expressed a desire to emigrate to Hungary within six months. In May 2017, Griffin was banned from Hungary as he was perceived to be a "national security threat", according to security sources cited in the Hungarian weekly newspaper Magyar Narancs.
UK Parliament elections
|Date of election||Constituency||Party||Votes||%||Source(s)|
|22 October 1981 by-election||Croydon North West||NF||429||1.2|||
|1983 general election||Croydon North West||NF||336||0.9|||
|23 November 2000 by-election||West Bromwich West||BNP||794||4.2|||
|2001 general election||Oldham West and Royton||BNP||6,552||16.4|||
|2005 general election||Keighley||BNP||4,240||9.2|||
|2010 general election||Barking||BNP||6,620||14.6|||
Welsh Assembly elections (Additional members region; party list)
|Date of election||Region||Party||Votes||%||Result||Source(s)|
|2007 Welsh Assembly election||South Wales West||BNP||8,993||5.5||Not elected|||
European Parliament elections (Multi-member constituency; party list)
|Date of election||Region||Party||Votes||%||Result||Source(s)|
|2004 European election||North West England||BNP||134,959||6.4||Not elected|||
|2009 European election||North West England||BNP||132,094||8.0||Elected|||
|2014 European election||North West England||BNP||32,826||1.9||Not elected|||
|Party political offices|
| Chairman of the British National Party
The British National Party (BNP) leadership election of 1999 occurred on 28 September, and was intended to select a new leader for the BNP. It was triggered when Nick Griffin stood against John Tyndall for leadership of the party, after Tyndall had served for 17 years as leader of the party. Griffin won the election with 72.5% of the vote. The election returned a new leader of the BNP, and marked a shift in the party towards a more modern organisation, and with the intent of gaining broader appeal and legitimacy.2011 British National Party leadership election
The British National Party (BNP) leadership election of 2011 was triggered on 28 June 2011 when the party adopted a new constitution that required a leadership election to take place every four years. Two candidates stood in the leadership election: Nick Griffin (BNP leader since 1999, and MEP for North West England) and Andrew Brons (MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber). On 25 July 2011, the results of the leadership election were announced, with Griffin being named the winner by just 9 votes. Griffin had secured 1,157 votes compared to the 1,148 votes for Brons.Adam Walker (British politician)
Adam Walker (born 1 April 1969) is the chairman of the British National Party. He was elected in a leadership election on 27 July 2015. He was previously acting chairman being appointed by the National Executive when the former leader, Nick Griffin, resigned.Britannica Party
Britannica is a far-right political party in the United Kingdom, led by Charles Baillie, the former organiser of the British National Party's Glasgow branch. It was first registered in August 2011.The party was formed by Baillie when he, along with other leading members of the BNP in Scotland, was expelled for plotting against the then party leader, Nick Griffin. It is, in essence, the core of the BNP Glasgow branch, including Max Dunbar (treasurer and former treasurer of BNP Glasgow), Jean Douglas and Martin Clark. John Robertson, the BNP "security officer" for the Highlands & Islands, is also a member.The party has been mostly inactive since 2014, and may have now effectively disbanded.British National Party
The British National Party (BNP) is a far-right, fascist political party in the United Kingdom. It is headquartered in Wigton, Cumbria, and its current leader is Adam Walker. A minor party, it has no elected representatives at any level of UK government. Founded in 1982, the party reached its greatest level of success in the 2000s, when it had over fifty seats in local government, one seat on the London Assembly, and two Members of the European Parliament.
Taking its name from that of a defunct 1960s far-right party, the BNP was created by John Tyndall and other former members of the fascist National Front (NF). During the 1980s and 1990s, the BNP placed little emphasis on contesting elections, in which it did poorly. Instead, it focused on street marches and rallies, creating the Combat 18 paramilitary—its name a coded reference to Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler—to protect its events from anti-fascist protesters. A growing 'moderniser' faction was frustrated by Tyndall's leadership, and ousted him in 1999. The new leader Nick Griffin sought to broaden the BNP's electoral base by presenting a more moderate image, targeting concerns about rising immigration rates, and emphasising localised community campaigns. This resulted in increased electoral growth throughout the 2000s, to the extent that it became the most electorally successful far-right party in British history. Concerns regarding financial mismanagement resulted in Griffin being removed from office in 2014. By this point the BNP's membership and vote share had declined dramatically, groups like Britain First and National Action had splintered off, and the English Defence League had supplanted it as the UK's foremost far-right group.
Ideologically positioned on the extreme-right or far-right of British politics, the BNP has been characterised as fascist or neo-fascist by political scientists. Under Tyndall's leadership, it was more specifically regarded as neo-Nazi. The party is ethnic nationalist, and it espouses the view that only white people should be citizens of the United Kingdom. It calls for an end to non-white migration into the UK and for non-white Britons to be stripped of citizenship and removed from the country. Initially, it called for the compulsory expulsion of non-whites, although since 1999 has advocated voluntary removals with financial incentives. It promotes biological racism and the white genocide conspiracy theory, calling for global racial separatism and condemning interracial relationships. Under Tyndall, the BNP emphasised anti-semitism and Holocaust denial, promoting the conspiracy theory that Jews seek to dominate the world through both communism and international capitalism. Under Griffin, the party's focus switched from anti-semitism towards Islamophobia. It promotes economic protectionism, Euroscepticism, and a transformation away from liberal democracy, while its social policies oppose feminism, LGBT rights, and societal permissiveness.
Operating around a highly centralised structure that gave its chair near total control, the BNP built links with far-right parties across Europe and created various sub-groups, including a record label and trade union. The BNP attracted most support from within White British working-class communities in northern and eastern England, particularly among middle-aged and elderly men. Polls suggested that most Britons favoured a ban on the party, it faced much opposition from anti-fascists, religious organisations, the mainstream media, and most politicians, and BNP members were banned from various professions.Derek Holland (activist)
Derek Holland is a figure on the European far-right noted for his Catholic Integralism.Holland was brought up in Huntingdon and was already trying to recruit new members to the National Front while a student at Cambridgeshire College of Art and Technology. He then went to Leicester Polytechnic to study history and to bolster support for the already-established Young National Front Student Organisation. In the May 1979 general election, he contested Cambridge for the NF, receiving 311 votes (0.6%). After his studies Holland became closely associated with the Political Soldier wing of the party. One of the party's main writers in a time when their ideology was shifting, he contributed regularly not only to the party journal Nationalism Today, but was also co-editor of Rising, a radical nationalist journal that was independent of the NF and drew heavily from Julius Evola and Corneliu Zelea Codreanu. Holland became one of the leading lights on the Political Soldier wing of the party when his pamphlet The Political Soldier was published in 1984. Along with Nick Griffin and Patrick Harrington he became effective joint leader of the Official National Front following the resignation of Andrew Brons from overall leadership in 1984. In 1988 the three travelled to Libya on a fund-raising trip as an official representatives of the NF, although in the end they were given only copies of The Green Book.In 1989, Holland broke with Patrick Harrington and joined Michael Fishwick in following Nick Griffin and Roberto Fiore into the International Third Position (ITP) after Harrington had contacted The Jewish Chronicle with regards to opening dialogue. Holland injected his sympathies for anti-Zionist groups, as part of his nationalist philosophy, into the ITP. He supported the ideas of Muammar Gaddafi and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who had previously featured on a cover of National Front News.
Holland's last public appearance was at a Swedish nationalist convention in 2002, during this time Holland lived in the Irish Midlands where he sought grants from the local Community Enterprise Board for his involvement in the proposed publishing of the "IHS Books however when he sought to use a different address to his home address he was not seen for some time after that, his present whereabouts is unknown following his past involvement with Nick Griffin coming to light.
, (hosted by Nationaldemokratisk Ungdom, the youth wing of the National Democrats). Since that time the ITP appears to have gravitated towards the European National Front, and Holland has retired from active involvement in politics, although his Political Soldier writings are still circulated among radical nationalists. In 2001 Holland co-founded with John Sharp IHS Books, a publisher whose stated purpose was to bring back into print classics of Catholic social teaching but which has been accused of fascist and anti-semitic connections.Holland has received considerable treatment in works on European extremist nationalism, including Fascism: A History by Roger Eatwell (1997) and Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (2002). Holland’s writings on the Political Soldier are also featured in Fascism: A Reader published by Oxford University Press (1995).Eddy Butler
Edward Mark Butler (born in Bloomsbury 13 November 1962) is a former National Elections Officer of the British National Party (BNP) and was dubbed the party's "elections guru" by its newspaper, Voice of Freedom, until being suspended and expelled from the BNP in 2010 by Nick Griffin. He is currently a member of the English Democrats.Freedom Party (United Kingdom)
The Freedom Party was a political party in the United Kingdom.
The party was founded in December 2000 by former members of the British National Party (BNP), dubbed "ultra-Tories" by BNP leader Nick Griffin, who were disaffected with the party's refusal to moderate its position on race. They were expelled following a feud with the BNP leadership and allegations of financial irregularities and misconduct. Most prominent were two party activists in the West Midlands, husband and wife Steve Edwards (who became Freedom Party agent) and Sharron Edwards (formerly deputy chairman of the BNP and then deputy chairman of the Freedom Party). Adrian Davies was Party Chairman and Michael Newland was the treasurer. Most of the leadership were prominent in the Bloomsbury Forum, a right-wing discussion group.
The party was primarily anti-immigration, although it claimed to place more of an emphasis on culture rather than race. It was more mainstream on issues such as race than the British National Party, with which it had a stormy relationship. The party aimed to appeal to 'reasonable people'. It believed in a Keynesian approach to the economy, and was also protectionist.In 2004 the Freedom Party was involved in founding the English Lobby, a pressure group and electoral coalition which campaigns for the recognition of St George's Day and the creation of an English Parliament. The Freedom Party has since withdrawn from the Lobby.
The Freedom Party first stood in 2001 for Staffordshire County Council in Wombourne South West. In May 2003, Sharron Edwards was elected in that ward with 640 votes (40.54%), holding her seat until 2007. The party's only candidate in the 2005 general election was Adrian Davies, who contested South Staffordshire. The death of a candidate led to the election there being postponed from May 5 to June 23. The Freedom Party polled 473 votes (1.7%).The party was dissolved in 2006.John Morse (British politician)
John Morse (born 1951) is a British political activist involved with the far-right. He was a leading figure in the British National Party under John Tyndall, serving alongside Richard Edmonds as Tyndall's closest ally in the party.His alliance with Tyndall began when Morse supported his leadership of the National Front and continued when he was a founder of the New National Front. In the BNP, Morse served as editor of the party newspaper British Nationalist. Tyndall and Morse were imprisoned in 1986 for publishing material relating to racial hatred for a year, although the two men only served four months. In 1994 Morse and Edmonds were both charged with causing violent disorder after a black man was struck with a glass in Bethnal Green.Based in Winchester, he served as the BNP's Mid-South organiser but resigned from the position in 1999 when Tyndall was replaced as party chairman by Nick Griffin.Morse was expelled from the BNP in 2002 and, although he was later reinstated, he is no longer involved in the party. In 2015 the Daily Mail reported that, along with other far-right veterans including Edmonds, Martin Webster and Michèle Renouf, Morse attended an event at a central London hotel where key speakers included Holocaust deniers Pedro Varela Geiss and Mark Weber.Apart from his political activities, Morse worked as a bus driver.Kevin Bryan
Kevin Alistair Bryan is a British political activist and former chairman of the British National Front (NF), a far-right political party for whites only. He previously held this position between 2013 and 2015 and was deputy chairman, under Ian Edward. He describes himself as "a racial nationalist".Bryan was previously a member of the British National Party for whom he contested local elections. He was that party's organiser in Newark-on-Trent and in Rochdale. Following a period of disagreement with the policies of the BNP's leader, Nick Griffin, he left the party in 2010 and joined the National Front, and became its deputy chairman a few months later.He has been a candidate for the NF in national and local elections in the Rossendale area.Mark Collett
Mark Adrian Collett (; born c. 1980) is a British neo-Nazi and far-right political activist. He is a former chairman of the Young BNP, the youth division of the British National Party (BNP), and was director of publicity for the party before his BNP membership was suspended in early April 2010.Nick Griffin (comedian)
Nick Griffin is an American comedian and writer.
Griffin began his stand up career at the age of 19 in Kansas City, before moving to New York in 1990, performing in midnight shows at Greenwich Village. He then moved to Los Angeles, becoming a staff writer for The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show in 1997 and later became the head writer for Bobby Slayton and Sue Murphy's morning radio show.Griffin made his first major TV appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, and went on to become a regular on Premium Blend. He moved back to New York in 2006 and has performed on the Late Show with David Letterman Conan, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and in May 2016 The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.North West England (European Parliament constituency)
North West England is a constituency of the European Parliament. From the 2009 elections it elects 8 MEPs using the D'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.Oxford Union
The Oxford Union Society, commonly referred to simply as the Oxford Union, is a debating society in the city of Oxford, England, whose membership is drawn primarily from the University of Oxford. Founded in 1823, it is one of Britain's oldest university unions. The Oxford Union exists independently from the university and is separate from the Oxford University Student Union.
The Oxford Union has a tradition of hosting some of the world's most prominent individuals across politics, academia and popular culture, including US Presidents Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, British Prime Ministers Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron and Theresa May, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, activists Malcolm X, Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa, actor Morgan Freeman, musicians Sir Elton John and Michael Jackson and sportspeople Diego Maradona and Manny Pacquiao.Patrick Harrington
Patrick Harrington (born 24 May 1964) is a British political activist and writer. He is currently general secretary of Solidarity – The Union for British Workers and a director of the Third Way, a think tank (since 1989).He is a committed and lifelong vegetarian. He has two children and lives in Edinburgh.Political Soldier
Political Soldier is a political concept associated with the Third Position. It played a leading role in Britain's National Front from the late 1970s onwards under young radicals Nick Griffin, Patrick Harrington and Derek Holland of the Official National Front. The term was used to indicate an almost fanatical devotion to the cause of nationalism, which its supporters felt was needed to bring about a revolutionary change in society.
A faction within the National Front called for the building of a fresh ethos within society and for the emergence of a new man, to be known as the Political Soldier, who would reject materialism and devote himself to the nationalist struggle with religious zeal. Basing their ideas on those of Julius Evola, an Italian philosopher who sought the creation of a new elite to combat the decadence of modern bourgeois society, Political Soldiers rejected traditional British nationalism in favour of a European outlook and a racialist equality of separate races.Question Time British National Party controversy
The Question Time British National Party controversy occurred in the autumn of 2009, due to an invitation by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to Nick Griffin, leader of the far-right British National Party (BNP), to be a panelist on Question Time, one of its flagship television programmes on current affairs.
The decision to have the BNP represented on the programme for the first time sparked public and political debate in the United Kingdom. At the heart of the matter was the BBC's public broadcasting mandate, requiring it to give equal prominence to political parties above a given level of electoral representation. Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC, defended the BBC's decision to invite Griffin, stating, "the BNP has demonstrated a level of support that would normally lead to an occasional invitation to join the panel on Question Time. It is for that reason – not for some misguided desire to be controversial, but for that reason alone – that the invitation has been extended."A late appeal was made to the BBC Trust, the BBC's governing body, by the Secretary of State for Wales Peter Hain, to have the appearance blocked, which ultimately failed. Griffin appeared on the edition which aired on 22 October 2009. As the programme was due to go on air, public protests took place at BBC Television Centre in London. The pre-recorded programme featured Griffin alongside the Secretary of State for Justice Jack Straw, the Conservative peer and Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion Sayeeda Warsi, Baroness Warsi, the Liberal Democrats' Home Affairs spokesperson Chris Huhne, and the writer/playwright Bonnie Greer. The edition was watched by over 8 million people – over half the total audience share – and more than double the previous record high for Question Time.Simon Darby
Simon Darby (born 8 November 1964) is a British politician and former Deputy Chairman of the British National Party.Unite Against Fascism
Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is an anti-fascist pressure group in the United Kingdom, with support from politicians of the three largest political parties in the House of Commons, including the former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and, when he was still alive, Labour politician Tony Benn. It describes itself as a national campaign with the aim of alerting British society to a perceived threat of fascism and the far right—in particular the British National Party (BNP)—gaining a foothold at local, national and European elections, arguing that "there is a real danger that the BNP could get a significant platform in elected institutions".Its joint secretaries are Weyman Bennett and Sabby Dhalu, formerly of the National Assembly Against Racism (NAAR). Its chair is Steve Hart of the union Unite and its assistant secretary is Jude Woodward of Socialist Action.Since 2013, UAF has mainly operated through the brand Stand Up To Racism, which has many of the same officers as UAF: Bennett and Dhalu as joint secretaries, Diane Abbott as president and co-chairs Dave Ward of the Communication Workers' Union and Talha Ahmad of the Muslim Council of Britain.