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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 February 2006, 19:43 GMT
Profile: British National Party
Leader of the BNP Nick Griffin
Mr Griffin was educated at Cambridge
The British National Party was formed by John Tyndall, co-founder of the National Front, in 1982.

He led the BNP until 1999 and died in 2005.

His successor was Nick Griffin, a Cambridge law graduate who lives in mid-Wales with his wife and four children.

Before becoming leader, Mr Griffin was a full-time political writer and organiser for the BNP. He has been involved in far-right politics for 30 years.

His trial, along with party activist Nick Collett, was prompted by speeches filmed by a BBC team, which showed Griffin describing Islam as a "wicked, vicious faith".

Both men were acquitted of charges of inciting racial hatred and the BNP has previously rejected accusations that it is racist.

It argued it has severed links with the National Front, although it was criticised in 2004 for hosting the French far-right National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen at a dinner.

White membership

Under its current policy, the party backs an immediate halt to "all further non-white immigration" and the "voluntary resettlement" of non-whites to "their lands of ethnic origin".

The BNP's website states all members must be of "British or kindred European ethnic descent".

Celebrations in Millwall, east London
The party has celebrated winning council seats
Its first council seat was won in 1993, when Derek Beackon triumphed in a by-election in the Millwall ward of Tower Hamlets in east London.

Labour won back the seat but council polls in 2002 led to the party's most successful elections as it won three seats in Burnley. Later in the year the BNP picked up a further council seat in Blackburn.

In the 1997 general election, the party fielded 57 candidates and saved three deposits, winning 35,000 votes. Four years later, it won 47,000 votes after putting up 33 candidates.

In that 2001 election, Mr Griffin stood for the seat of Oldham West and Royton, where weeks earlier racial tension had led to rioting, and won 16.4% of the vote.

By 2003 the party had managed to secure 13 council seats - a figure they managed to boost in 2004 by another four.

Raised number

It failed to win any parliamentary seats in the last general election although it slightly increased its total share of the vote.

A month later, it lost its only council seat in the capital, and was later criticised for using a picture of a bombed London bus in a failed attempt to win another seat back.

They now have about 20 councillors, including six in Burnley.

In the 2005 general election, the party raised its total number of votes to 192,850 - from 47,219 in 2001.

Mr Griffin himself polled 4,240 votes in Keighley, West Yorkshire - 9.16% of the total cast.

It contested 119 seats but failed to win any.

So, while the BNP under Mr Griffin has attempted to widen its reach, it is still very far from gaining power or mainstream political influence.


SEE ALSO:
Learning lessons from history
28 Sep 05 |  UK Politics
BNP founder Tyndall dies aged 71
19 Jul 05 |  UK Politics
BNP campaign uses bus bomb photo
12 Jul 05 |  UK Politics



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