Page last updated at 07:36 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 08:36 UK

BNP leader 'is invited to Palace'

Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin plans to attend the garden party

The leader of the British National Party is to be a guest at a Buckingham Palace garden party hosted by the Queen, his party colleague says.

Nick Griffin will accompany Richard Barnbrook, a BNP member of the London Assembly, at the event on 21 July, Mr Barnbrook has said.

All members of the Assembly have been invited to the event.

Buckingham Palace said no invitations had yet been issued for any of this summer's garden parties.

A palace spokesman said: "The Queen does not scrutinise and is not consulted on the list of accompanying guest names as they are official not personal invitations and as such, Buckingham Palace relies entirely on the nominating organisations.

"Where a guest is not judged to be a direct threat to security, as judged by the police, an invitation would be issued."

'Political stunt'

Mr Barnbrook said he imagined there would be a "to-do and a hoot" over the invite but claimed "these things are going to happen more and more as the party goes forward".

The BNP is accused by its opponents of stirring up racial hatred. The party says it is standing up for Britain's "indigenous population".

It campaigns for the "voluntary resettlement" of non-white British citizens to their country of ethnic origin and preferential treatment in the jobs market for British workers.

Mr Johnson has urged the chairman of the London Assembly to withdraw the invitation

News of the royal garden party invite comes two days after Mr Barnbrook attended the Wembley launch of England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup finals.

All elected members of the London Assembly were invited to the launch.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the FA Chairman Lord Triesman spoke at the event, putting an emphasis on diversity.

London Mayor Boris Johnson accused Mr Barnbrook of turning the Buckingham Palace garden party into a "political stunt".

He urged Darren Johnson, Chair of the London Assembly, to intervene and withdraw the invitation.

He said: "We cannot tolerate any such abuse of the invitation or any potential embarrassment to Her Majesty.

"I am therefore writing to call on you to inform Mr Barnbrook - at the earliest opportunity - that he must either bring a guest who will not provoke political controversy, or consider his invitation rescinded."

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