Page last updated at 11:14 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 12:14 UK

BNP on Question Time: Key moments

Extracts from Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time, BBC One

The appearance on the BBC's flagship Question Time programme of British National Party leader Nick Griffin has proved highly controversial.

Here are some of the key exchanges on the show, which featured Justice Secretary Jack Straw, shadow communities minister Baroness Warsi, Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne and playwright and critic Bonnie Greer, alongside host David Dimbleby.


Jack Straw: We fought Nazism in the Second World War, and defeated it - a party and an ideology based on race, just like another party represented here today... We only won the First World War and we only won the Second World War because we were joined in those wars by millions of black and Asian people from around the world.

Nick Griffin: I said that Churchill belonged in the British National Party because no other party would have him... My father was in the RAF during the Second World War, while Mr Straw's father was in prison for refusing to fight Adolf Hitler.

(Boos from audience)

David Dimbleby: What's that got to do with the issue?

Nick Griffin: Mr Straw was attacking me and I've been relentlessly attacked and demonised over the last few days - and the fact is, my father was in the RAF during the Second World War. I'm not a Nazi and never have been.

Watch this exchange on BBC iPlayer


Audience member (to Nick Griffin): The vast majority of this audience find what you stand for to be completely disgusting.

Nick Griffin: Without a shadow of a doubt I appreciate that if you look at some of the things I'm quoted as having said - in the Daily Mail today and so on - I'd be a monster. Those things are outrageous lies.

David Dimbleby: Which is the untrue quote that's been said about you - the holocaust denial, possibly?

Nick Griffin, second right, on Question Time
Mr Griffin's attitude towards World War II and the Holocaust came under scrutiny

Nick Griffin: The vast majority of them. Far too many to go into. But...

David Dimbleby: All right. Let's just go there. Denying the holocaust, for example. Did you deny the holocaust?

Nick Griffin: I do not have a conviction for holocaust denial.

David Dimbleby: But you did deny it. Why are you smiling? It's not a particularly amusing issue.

Watch this exchange on BBC iPlayer

Young audience member, in skullcap: Sir Winston Churchill put everything on the line so that my ancestors wouldn't get slaughtered in the concentration camps. But here sits a man who says that that's a myth, just like a flat world was a myth. How could you say that? How could you?

Nick Griffin: I cannot explain why I used to say these things, I can't tell you, no... (boos from audience) any more than I can tell you why I've changed my mind, I can't tell you the extent to which I've changed my mind, because European law prevents me.

Jack Straw: There is no law here that stops you explaining yourself.

Chris Huhne: And we refused a European arrest warrant on precisely this from a country that does require holocaust denial to be an offence. And we refused that.

Jack Straw: And as the justice minister, I promise you, if you want to explain why you don't believe it ...

Bonnie Greer: Go on, Nick, tell us!

Chris Huhne: Go ahead!

David Dimbleby: You have the freedom now to explain it.

Nick Griffin: But unfortunately, the French courts and the German courts would not recognise that freedom.

Watch this exchange on BBC iPlayer


Nick Griffin: I've shared a platform with David Duke, who once was the leader of a Ku Klux Klan, and always a totally non-violent one, incidentally...

Nick Griffin
Mr Griffin said the UK must remain "a fundamentally British and Christian country "

(Laughter from audience)

Bonnie Greer: No, Nick, no, no no, Nick. Nick, Nick. Excuse me. Don't go and talk about the Ku Klux Klan, because I know where I'm from...

Nick Griffin: It's a vile organisation...

Bonnie Greer: No, no, no. I can tell you about David Duke. We don't have time for that.

Watch this exchange on BBC iPlayer


Nick Griffin: We should ensure that, if Muslims are staying in this country, they do so on the understanding that our country must remain fundamentally a British and Christian country.

David Dimbleby: Sorry, can you just explain. If Muslims do stay in this country, what must they do?

Nick Griffin: They must acknowledge that Britain always has been, and must remain - and it's right that it must remain - a fundamentally British and Christian country based on Western democratic values and not on the eternal values of the Koran.

Baroness Warsi: Mr Griffin is a thoroughly, thoroughly deceptive man who comes on here and tries to sell whatever message that he wants. He's no friend of Islam - he's here to demonise Islam, just as he demonises Christianity. Because, you know, there is nothing Muslim about the likes of Abu Hamza and others who actually preach extremism in the name of that faith. Mr Griffin here preaches extremism in the name of Christianity, and brings that faith into disrepute as well.

Watch this exchange on BBC iPlayer


David Dimbleby: (To Jack Straw) The rise of the BNP, and the reason that Mr Griffin is on this panel tonight, is because of their success in the European Parliament, because as you well know, they got two seats in Europe. Is that because of failings by your government over the last 12 years to reassure people about the scale of immigration?

Jack Straw: I don't believe it is... If you want to know why the BNP won in the North West and in Yorkshire in June, it was a lot to do with discontent with all the political parties, particularly over the issue of expenses.

Baroness Warsi: I think, Jack, there's certain things that mainstream political parties have to be honest about. And I think that answer is not an honest answer... There are real issues around poverty, around deprivation, around lack of social mobility and immigration. It is an issue. There are many people who feel that the pace of change in their communities has been too fast.

Watch this exchange on BBC iPlayer

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