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Passion Islam I July 2009 LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS I 9
BNP ordered to accept ethnic minority
members or face prosecution
The British National Party has been the Commission voluntarily, then the
ordered to accept members from watchdog said that it would apply for
ethnic minorities and employ black a legal injunction which would compel
and Asian staff or face prosecution. them to comply.
In a letter from the Equality and Any breach of a court order would
Human Rights Commission, Nick be a criminal offence and leave the
Griffin, the BNP leader, was told party’s leaders open to prosecution.
that he had less than a month to Mr Wadham said that the
provide written undertakings that the Commission had a legal duty to
party would abide by race relations ensure that political parties were not
legislation. breaking the law by discriminating
John Wadham, legal director of the against ethnic minorities.
Commission, said that the watchdog He added: “The legal advice we
was concerned that the BNP’s have received indicates that the
constitution and membership criteria British National Party’s constitution
could be in breach of the law. and membership criteria, employment said that this amounted to a potential
In a statement, the watchdog practices and provision of services breach of laws which ban parties from
added: “This exclusion is contrary to constituents and the public may refusing employment on the basis of
to the Race Relations Act which the breach discrimination laws which all non-membership of an organisation.
party is legally obliged to comply with. political parties are legally obliged to Earlier this month, two BNP
The Commission therefore thinks that uphold. members, including Mr Griffin, were
the BNP may have acted, and be “Litigation or enforcement action elected to the European Parliament,
acting, illegally.” can be avoided by the BNP giving a the highest office enjoyed by party
There were further concerns satisfactory response to our letter.” representatives to date.
over the requirement on new staff The BNP has been ordered to The Commission said that it was
to be party members, and fears that provide a written undertaking that concerned that they and the party’s
elected BNP representatives would be it will not breach race relations laws local councillors did not intend to
unwilling to provide help and support in its “employment, recruitment, provide their services on an equal
to non-white constituents. procedures and practices”. basis to all constituents irrespective
If the BNP does not provide On the BNP’s website, applicants of race or colour.
written undertakings by July 20 that for party jobs are asked to supply a A spokesman for the BNP said that
it will make the changes required by membership number. The Commission the party would not be commenting.
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