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EDITIONS
Thursday, 29 August, 2002, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
That was then: Edgar Griffin
A year on from being in the headlines, what has happened to Edgar Griffin, 80, father of the BNP leader and a senior figure in Iain Duncan Smith's leadership election campaign?

August 2001

Edgar Griffin hit the headlines when it was revealed that, even though he was a vice president of Iain Duncan Smith's Tory leadership campaign, he had links with the far right British National Party.

The story as we reported it in August 2001
His son is Nick Griffin, leader of the right-wing party, and his wife Jean had stood for election against Mr Duncan Smith for the BNP. The phone Mr Griffin had answered was a BNP one in the couple's home.

The Tory leader sacked Mr Griffin from his campaign, saying he abhorred what the BNP stood for, and would not allow its members to "infiltrate" the Tory party.

Mr Griffin countered that he had been a party member since 1948, and that most grassroots members agreed with his views - for instance that immigrants who wanted to be repatriated should be helped.

August 2002
Mr Griffin was eventually expelled from the Conservative Party in October last year but says despite this he remains loyal to the party, and bears Iain Duncan Smith no ill-will.

"He didn't really have any option, I don't hold it against him. If he hadn't booted me out, it would have been used against him by his opponents," he says.

"I'm not a party member now, but the point is I'm on good terms with everybody in the local party, almost without exception. There are two people who were very unkind. One slammed the phone down on me. No gentleman slams the phone down on another.

Nick Griffin
Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP
"So I'm not a member, and I can't even go to the local Conservative club in Welshpool because it's shut down."

He has not joined the BNP, as he warned he might if he was expelled from the Tories. In any case, he says he thinks of the BNP as too moderate. "It's not right wing, let alone far right. The BNP is a centre party. It's attracting moderate Tories and even dissident Labour members."

He says the Conservative Party is more right-wing than the BNP on issues such as the House of Lords and trade unions. "They're not mad keen on hunting with dogs either, and I think that's all part of the Conservative tradition," he says.

He plans to apply to rejoin the Tory party in the new year.

"I'll have another bash. It was simply a mistake. I was accused of working for the BNP because I picked the phone up. My wife had trotted across to the post box, she had been expecting a call, and I picked it up."


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Previously...
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24 Aug 01 | UK
24 Aug 01 | UK
24 Aug 01 | Politics
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