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Monday, 1 October, 2001, 10:15 GMT 11:15 UK
BNP row Tory seeks reinstatement
Edgar Griffin
Edgar Griffin: 'The party needs me'
A former senior Welsh Conservative thrown out of the party over alleged links to the British National Party has asked to be reinstated.

Edgar Griffin's party membership was terminated amid a row that he answered a hotline for the BNP.

Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP
Edgar Griffin's son Nick polled 6,500 votes in Oldham West

Mr Griffin, 79, admitted to answering the helpline - run by his son and BNP chairman Nick Griffin - just once.

But party officials were also angered by subsequent comments in media interviews by Edgar Griffin, in which he called for "voluntarily repatriation" of immigrants.

In response Mr Griffin said he would look to join the BNP or the UK Independence Party(UKIP) if unsuccessful in rejoining the Conservatives.

But the UKIP in Wales has said he would not be welcome because of the link with the far-right party.

My views are the same as everyone else's. Certainly Conservative Party activists think as I do

Edgar Griffin

In an interview with BBC Wales on Monday, Mr Griffin, the former deputy chairman of Montgomeryshire Conservatives Association, urged party members to reconsider the matter.

He disputed the turn of events which led to his removal.

"There was virtually nobody at the (expulsion) meeting empowered to make the decision," said Mr Griffin.

"They need me to work for them in this constituency. Everyone knows I am not for the BNP."

But Mr Griffin added: "As far as multi-culturalism is concerned, it has failed the world over. It has only just worked in this country because of the kindness of the British people.

"What no-one seems to grasp is that so many of the non-white people cannot get on with one another.

Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith: Barely contained anger

"My views are the same as everyone else's. Certainly Conservative Party activists think as I do. We have always seen eye-to-eye."

Mr Griffin was sacked as a vice president in Iain Duncan Smith's leadership campaign in Wales when the claims of BNP links were made in August.

In a statement, the Welsh Conservative Party said the local party did not know of claims that Mr Griffin's home was used as the BNP base or that his wife was a member of the party.

Mrs Griffin had stood against Iain Duncan Smith at the last general election, but the Tory hopeful retained his seat in Chingford and Woodford Green.

Mr Griffin, a Tory member since 1948, said he had never worked for the BNP but said he sympathised with some of the party's policies.

But the Conservative leader in the Welsh Assembly, Nick Bourne, said he did not want him back in the party.

"Of course, Mr Griffin has the right to appeal against his expulsion," he said.

"But, in my opinion, the decision to expel him was the right course of action taken and I sincerely hope that this decision will not be reversed."

Edgar Griffin
"My views are shared throughout the Conservative Party"
See also:

25 Aug 01 | UK Politics
Griffin considers joining BNP
24 Aug 01 | UK Politics
Tory expelled over BNP row
24 Aug 01 | UK Politics
BNP row: What impact?
24 Aug 01 | UK Politics
Edgar Griffin interview in full
24 Aug 01 | UK
BNP: A party on the fringe
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