BNP Threatens Legal Action over Frozen Bank Accounts

Scotsman.com, Jul. 17

The British National Party is considering taking

legal action after Barclays froze up to six of its bank accounts.

The move came after a BBC documentary team secretly filmed members of the BNP

confessing to race-hate crime.

BNP chairman Nick Griffin reacted by threatening legal action against Barclays,

claiming the move breached European human rights legislation.

He branded the decision “absolutely scandalous” and admitted the party

might now find it difficult to open accounts with other banks.

According to sources, Barclays was already reviewing its position on the BNP

before the BBC’s Secret Agent film. However, the bank has refused to comment

on the matter, citing client confidentiality.

Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service issued a

joint statement in the wake of the Secret Agent film which said officers were

collecting tapes from the programme makers.

They said the broadcast “raises a number of issues which warrant further

investigation”, and that it was liaising with programme makers.

“Working with our colleagues in the Crown Prosecution Service we will be

reviewing the material to identify what, if any, information of evidential value

it contains and decide on the appropriate action,” according to the statement.

Mr Griffin said a member of the party’s treasury department was informed

about the freezing of its accounts yesterday afternoon.

He said: “This is an attempt to ban us by the back door. The next move

will be to look at the legal position.

“Barclays may find themselves up against European human rights legislation.

We have the right to hold political opinions and to impart them.”

Mr Griffin said the party’s money had effectively been “stolen”

and claimed it amounted to thousands of pounds.

He added: “There was enough money to run a small but effective political

party.”

The party must have a bank account in Britain to comply with electoral commission

regulations, Mr Griffin added.

Mr Griffin said: “It is quite possible that we will not be able to find

another bank. We can’t keep money under our mattresses.”

The documentary showed Mr Griffin condemning Islam as a “vicious, wicked

faith”—and claiming he would face seven years in prison if he made

the comments in public.

A BBC reporter who spent six months undercover with the BNP recorded another

of the group’s members, Steve Barkham, confessing to taking part in a racially-motivated

attack on an Asian man during the 2001 Bradford riots.

Both Mr Barkham and Dave Midgley, a BNP candidate for council elections, have

now been expelled by the party.

Mr Griffin continued his tirade against the Islamic faith on Thursday, branding

it “a monster in our midst”.

In an interview broadcast on BBC’s Newsnight, he apologised unreservedly

for some comments made during the documentary.

On Thursday, there were also calls for Home Secretary David Blunkett to act

against the BNP.

Magistrate Bary Malik, president of Bradford’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Association,

said: “I hope David Blunkett will take some action. The Home Secretary

should see there’s no room for a party like this.”

In Parliament the BNP was dubbed a party of “vile Nazis and thugs”

by Commons Leader Peter Hain as all sides of the House condemned the far-right

group.

Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said that

the documentary “has clearly exposed the British National Party for what

they really are.

“They have tried to cover themselves with a thin veneer of respectability

in describing themselves as a political party.”

The BNP took nearly a third of the votes in a council by-election result in

east London’s Barking and Dagenham borough on Thursday night.

The result at Valence ward came less than an hour after a BBC expose of the

party. Its candidate, Lawrence Rustem, came just over 10% behind Labour’s

winner Donald Hemmett.

Next door in the London Borough of Havering, in a by-election at Rainham and

Wennington, the BNP’s Mark Blunden polled 549 votes—256 behind Labour’s

Tony Ellis, who pipped the Tories by a margin of 29.

In Blackburn with Darwen, Lancashire, BNP candidates Nicholas Holt and Anthony

Dailly failed in their attempts to take two seats in the Labour stronghold ward

of Earcroft.

 

Barclays

Want to Steal Your Vote

BNP Website, Jul. 19

Barclays Want to Steal Your Vote—but can’t

think of the right excuse. BNP Chairman, Nick Griffin reports.

Confusion reigns this morning in Barclays Bank

PLC over what seems to have been an over-hasty move by their PR department to

announce a top level decision to close down the BNP’s bank accounts held

with them. The local branch holding the accounts still knew nothing whatsoever

about the decision this morning. Similarly, the promised “urgent letter”

to our National Treasurer from Barclays, which was supposed to arrive without

fail today, still has not materialised.

Whether this is just incompetence on their part, or whether their Legal Department

are still desperately trying to come up with a form of words which will not

potentially land them with problems in any possible court action. In the meantime,

the Barclays branch in question has told us that our accounts are not closed

or frozen, and that we can continue banking as normal. Cheques are being deposited

and drawn on as per usual.

Confidentiality broken

Our Legal Department have been researching the issue all weekend, and we will

be putting their skeleton argument on no fewer than ten possible areas for legal

redress to our London solicitor and a barrister within the next 24 hours. The

failure of the British Government to implement fully European Directive 9546

on banking confidentiality and related matters is of particular interest.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission have been quick to note the potentially

very serious nature of this attack, since any party which is denied the capability

to run its finances openly within the UK could well be regarded as being in

breach of the Commission’s very properly strict procedures for ensuring

transparency and acountability in party political funding. As a result, the

Barclays move is being discussed at a special meeting of the Electoral Commission

today.

Protests

In various parts of the country, BNP organisers are planning demonstrations

against local Barclays branches. Several branches have already carried out spontaneous

protests, including one in Edinburgh on Saturday.

The Barclays eagle—preying on British

voters?

“Barclays want to steal your vote” is

emerging as a popular slogan, on account of the fact that the Electoral Commission

would have no option but to deregister any party which cannot meet its requirements,

which means that an inability to bank in Britain could lead to the BNP being

barred from standing in future elections.

This affair is not therefore just an attack on the BNP, but on the right of

every elector in Britain to have the right to choose from a full slate of candidates.

Mr Blunkett, Mirror Group Newsapers and the sordid porn baron who owns the Daily

Express may not understand it, but democracy is as indivisible as free speech:

Either everyone has it or no-one does. BNP members and supporters are also telephoning

or writing to their local Barclays branches expressing their disgust at the

bank’s attack on democratic freedom, and threatening to take their accounts,

credit card business and mortgages elsewhere.

Business as usual

Meanwhile, since the party leadership foresaw such an attack a long time ago,

other, reserve accounts with other banks are being swung into action. All donations,

subscriptions and such like should therefore be sent in as normal. Many thanks

to all concerned, especially the non-BNP supporters who have sent donations

as a way of expressing their belief that it is fundamentally wrong in principle

that a capitalist bank should feel justified in taking steps which could close

down lawful political party, regardless of what that party may believe in.

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