Peter Dominiczak, Telegraph (London), January 3, 2014
Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, has been declared bankrupt.
The MEP appeared at Welshpool County Court this week and declared himself bankrupt.
There was initially speculation that his bankruptcy would disqualify Mr Griffin from sitting as an MEP.
However, a rule change means that bankruptcy no longer automatically prevents someone sitting in the European Parliament.
Mr Griffin claimed that he will now write a booklet on “dealing with debt”.
The BNP’s membership has collapsed in recent years, according to reports.
Mr Griffin wrote on Twitter: “A note for all: Being bankrupt does not prevent me being or standing as an MEP. It does free me from financial worries.”
He added: “Party funds are not affected in any way. Our campaign in May will be our most professional yet and I will be lead candidate in the North West.
“I am now turning the experience to the benefit of hard-up constituents by producing a booklet on dealing with debt. No surrender!”
A spokesman said that it is “business as usual” for the party and for Mr Griffin.
“He was in Welshpool magistrates,” the spokesman said. “He tried to have a settlement with the firm of solicitors who were after him. They simply refused . . . they weren’t having anything other than bankruptcy.
“But politically it makes no difference.”
In June Mr Griffin visited Syria on what he described as a “fact finding mission”.
Calling Damascus a “modern, bustling city”, he compared security to that of Belfast during the Troubles, and aside from “occasional explosions” in the distance, said life in the Syrian capital was “normal”.
Mr Griffin will be automatically discharged from bankruptcy in one year, on January 2 2015, in accordance with the Insolvency Act.
Mr Griffin was elected for the North West region of England in 2009.
Advice published by the Electoral Commission said bankruptcy in itself does not bar someone from being a member of the European Parliament or standing for election.
Restrictions are only triggered if an individual is made subject to a bankruptcy restrictions order or debt relief restrictions order.
The Insolvency Service said such orders had not been made in Mr Griffin’s case.
Before April 1, 2004 being bankrupt itself would have disqualified a person from standing as an MEP or MP.
The restriction was amended as part of the Insolvency Act 1986 so only the addition of a Bankruptcy Restriction Order on top of being bankrupt means a person being disqualified.