This Is London, December 20, 2007
Simone Clarke, the leading ballerina who was exposed as a member of the Right-wing British National Party, is to marry one of its councillors.
Richard Barnbrook, who once claimed mixed-race children are “washing out the identity of this country’s indigenous people”, proposed to Miss Clarke even though she has a mixed-race child herself.
The couple first met in January after Miss Clarke, the English National Ballet’s principal dancer, was revealed as a member of the party.
As anti-BNP protesters besieged the London Coliseum where she was performing, Mr Barnbrook was ordered there by party leader Nick Griffin.
He met Miss Clarke backstage and handed her a bouquet of red roses and white lillies.
The couple met a number of times >soon after and in April this year they started dating in secret.
Seven weeks ago, Mr Barnbrook, the leader of the BNP in Barking and Dagenham, proposed as they enjoyed a candlelit meal in South London.
Last night, the 46-year-old, who is also the BNP’s London mayoral candidate, said: “We were having dinner in a restaurant and I said, ‘Here darling, here’s a diamond ring’.
“There was no getting down on one knee, or anything like that.
“I’m a traditionalist. I slipped it on her finger and although it wasn’t the right size I said, ‘Let’s look forward to our future and maybe one day get married.’
“We love each other to bits. She’s a beautiful lady.”
Miss Clarke, 37, has a fiveyearold daughter, Olivia, from a previous relationship with fellow English National Ballet star Yat-Sen Chang, a Cuban immigrant of Chinese descent.
BNP poster boy: Richard Barnbrook said he hopes to marry Miss Clarke
She claims they broke up in April after he refused to support her and then she started seeing Mr Barnbrook.
Mr Barnbrook, who now claims his comments about mixed race children were taken out of context, said he has no reservations about becoming her child’s stepfather.
He insisted: “Simone’s daughter Olivia is beautiful. There are one or two out of thousands of my colleagues who have said, ‘You do realise she has a mixed race child?’—but I couldn’t give a damn.
“I love Simone.
“We have so much in common and get on like a house on fire. If we do get married as far as I am concerned her daughter becomes my daughter.
“It doesn’t bother me at all.
“I knew about Simone’s child before I met her. Whatever the heart does is right, regardless.”
He added: “I don’t know when we’ll get married.
“Simone is currently with her family in Leeds, spending as much time as she can with her daughter.
“I am in London and will have to stay here because I am the party’s candidate for London Mayor.
“But I will wait for her for as long as it takes. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
“We are seeing each other over Christmas and New Year. She’s coming to my parents and I’m going to hers.
“Some time in the future we will probably get married and have a family.”
A former artist, lecturer and art teacher, Mr Barnbrook has worked fulltime for the BNP since his teaching work dried up “because of his politics”.
His father was a soldier, as was his brother Stephen, who is about to marry a Jamaican nurse.
Divorced from a BBC secretary—”she married an artist, but didn’t want to be married to a politician”—he previously lived with a Tory-voting girlfriend.
Former partner: Miss Clarke on stage with her ex-boyfriend Yat-Sen Chang
Born in Leeds, Miss Clarke is the daughter of a maths teacher and a secretary.
Educated first at the local Catholic school, at the age of ten she beat 4,500 others to win one of 23 places at the Royal Ballet School in London.
In 1988, after a stint with the Birmingham Royal Ballet, she joined the English National Ballet, rising to become senior soloist in 2000 and principal dancer in 2004.
Her CV includes playing Juliet in Romeo And Juliet, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Referring to her decision to join the BNP, she said: “I am not too proud to say that a lot of it went over my head.
“But some of the things they mentioned were the things I think about all the time, mainly mass immigration, crime and increased taxes.
“As with all parties, you can’t agree on all things. You have to take the good bits and ignore the bad bits.
“I will be known as the BNP ballerina. I think that will stick with me for life.
“But I don’t regret anything. I will stay a member.”