The Guardian: BNP list may lead to sackings

BNP list may lead to sackings | Politics |

Haroon Siddique and agencies,, Wednesday November 19 2008 12.08 GMT

The list of BNP members posted on the internet contains the details of people in a wide range of jobs. Some employers have made clear that membership of the far-right party is not consistent with their values.

Claims that a serving officer is a member of the British National party are being investigated.

The Association of Chief Police Officers said police were banned from becoming members of the BNP because it would damage race relations.

‘Membership or promotion of the BNP by any member of the police service, whether police officer or police staff, is prohibited,’ said Acpo’s workforce development spokesman, Peter Fahy.

‘This is because such membership would be incompatible with our duty to promote equality under the Race Relations Amendment Act, and would damage the confidence of minority communities.

‘Whilst the policy may have been controversial at the time it was enacted in 2004, it has since been accepted by all staff and staff associations, and remains unchallenged thus far.’

Prison officers
A prison service spokesman said it was the first public sector employer to ban staff from being members of racist organisations and had dismissed employees for such action in the past.

‘The prison service is very clear on this issue – we take allegations of racism very seriously and have a zero-tolerance policy of those who hold racist views,’ he said.

‘When being recruited externally or applying for transfer or promotion, candidates are asked to state categorically that they do not belong to the BNP, National Front or Combat 18, or any other group or organisation promoting racism.

‘Membership of such organisations is entirely incompatible with working in the prison service and, if it is confirmed that a member of staff belongs to one of them, they will be subject to our disciplinary procedures.’

Church of England
Ben Wilson, a spokesman for the Church of England, said it had seen no evidence that any serving vicars were on the list, despite media reports.

‘The church’s General Synod passed a motion in 2004 stating that any political movement that seeks to divide our communities on the basis of ethnicity is an affront to the nature of God revealed in creation and scripture and is a grave danger to harmonious community relationships; consequently voting for and/or supporting a political party that offers racist policies is incompatible with Christian discipleship.

He said: ‘It would be difficult to take any formal action against a vicar on the basis of their alleged membership of the BNP, as membership of any lawful political party is excluded from the grounds for complaint under the clergy discipline measure.’

An MoD spokesman said: ‘Our position is that individuals are allowed to join political parties as long as they uphold our values and standards.’

But he and colleagues found the views of the BNP ‘abhorrent’, the spokesman said.

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