BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2007, 10:44 GMT
'BNP ballerina' to wed councillor
Ballerina Simone Clarke
Simone Clarke sparked protest with her BNP support
A ballerina whose support of the British National Party sparked protests is to marry one of its councillors.

"BNP ballerina" Simone Clarke of the English National Ballet is to marry Barking councillor Richard Barnbrook.

He said: "Seven weeks ago I gave her a diamond ring. I'm traditional like that. In the future we will probably get married and have a family."

The pair met in January when Mr Barnbrook attended a ballet performance to offer his support to Ms Clarke.

She had come under pressure for her views, with a small demonstration held outside the ballet venue and calls for the company to fire her.

If we do end up getting married, as far as I'm concerned, that child will be my child
Richard Barnbrook
BNP councillor

At the time she was in a long-term relationship with fellow principal dancer Yat-Sen Chang, a Cuban of Chinese descent, and has a five-year-old daughter with him.

Mr Barnbrook said he had been going out with her for more than nine months.

"I first met Simone at the stage door when she danced in Giselle at the Coliseum. I gave her a bunch of flowers on behalf of the party.

"After that we met a couple of times and had a laugh and a drink and a joke. We have so much in common - we are both very interested in the arts."

During the earlier media coverage of Ms Clarke's political affiliations, Mr Barnbrook was asked his view on her relationship.

In January he said: "I'm not opposed to mixed marriages but children [of these relationships] are washing out the identity of this country's indigenous people. That's my view. It's not the party's view."

BNP councillor Richard Barnbrook
The pair met when Richard Barnbrook offered her support

However, he says he was not bothered by possibly becoming a step-father to Ms Clarke's daughter.

"It doesn't bother me at all. I knew about Simone's child before I met her.

"If we do end up getting married, as far as I'm concerned, that child will be my child," he said.

He dismissed concerns from some people "outside the party with connections to more right wing parties" who might be troubled by it.

"I couldn't give a damn. Whatever the heart does is right, regardless."

BNP leader Nick Griffin has repeatedly insisted it is not a racist party.

He was convicted in 1998 for incitement to racial hatred for material denying the Holocaust.

But in November 2006, Mr Griffin and BNP activist Mark Collett were cleared of a separate accusation of inciting racial hatred after a retrial at Leeds Crown Court.

SEE ALSO
BNP divided after leadership row
19 Dec 07 |  UK Politics
Bovver boots and ballerinas
12 Jan 07 |  Magazine
'BNP ballerina' returns to stage
12 Jan 07 |  Entertainment

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific