Highs and lows: BNP

Ups and downs of the BNP campaign
Ups and downs of the BNP campaign

After a mountain of publicity in 2009 (most of it negative) the British National party (BNP) is hoping to build on its European election success at the general election. Its main target seat is Dagenham, but the far-right threat appears especially potent in pockets of deprivation across the country. Follow the party's progress here.

Low
February 22nd: Journalists take on BNP - News broke early in February that many senior journalists were preparing to take on the BNP by campaigning to expose the party's "undemocratic and racist nature".

High
February 14th: The BNP changed its membership policy to allow black and Asian members into the party, having been forced to make the change after a case brought against it by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (ECHR). Leader Nick Griffin said he hoped it would end claims the party was racist. He called it "the actions of a party that has had enough of being lied about".

Low
March 1st: BNP's biographer challenges Griffin - Dominic Carman, who wrote an unauthorised biography of the BNP, announced his intention to stand for the Lib Dems in Barking, where Griffin is standing. He pledged to expose Griffin's far-right beliefs.


Low
March 12th: Judge rules BNP still racist - Despite having changed their membership policy, the BNP was again condemned as racist. The EHRC's argument that allowing "non-indigenous Britons" to join was an inadequate response was accepted. The membership list remained closed, in a further blow to party coffers.

Low

April 6th: Publicity chief arrested - Mark Collett, a senior BNP official, was arrested on suspicion of making threats to kill Griffin. He was detained by police last week after Griffin and other party members spoke to police.

High
April 8th: Far-right threat acknowledged - Nick Lowles of anti-fascist Searchlight admitted a "real threat" existed in Stoke from the BNP. He suggested the party's deputy leader Simon Darby could take the seat - and "we could be looking for our first BNP-run council".

Low
April 14th: Accounts investigated - The Electoral Commission announced it had launched a full probe into the far-right party's statement of accounts for 2008. No conclusion has yet been reached, but it sounded like more trouble for Griffin and co.

High
April 15th: Dividing Dover candidates - The local BNP candidate in Dover managed to sow the seeds of division among his rivals by attending a hustings event. Some decided to boycott it, including Labour's incumbent MP Gwyn Prosser.

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