BBC News: BNP members ‘targeted by threats’

BBC News: BNP members ‘targeted by threats’

BNP members have told BBC News they have received threatening and abusive phone calls and e-mails after a leaked document was published online.

The membership list includes police officers, who are banned from BNP membership, teachers and soldiers.

It includes names, addresses, telephone numbers and jobs of 12,000 people.

It has been removed from the blog it was published on after protests by BNP leaders but members say they are still receiving threatening messages.

One woman, who did not want to be named, told BBC Radio 5 Live she received a phone call at 11pm on Tuesday night saying she should be “very careful” as someone could come to her house.

The BNP’s regional organiser in Northern Ireland has advised members to increase their personal security because of the risk of attack from dissident Republicans. The leaked list names 39 people with Northern Ireland addresses and two with addresses in the Republic of Ireland.

‘Strange phone calls’

But BNP members interviewed by Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Radio 5 Live gave a mixed reaction to the leaked list, with some saying they had nothing to hide.

John, from Redcar, told 5 Live he had been inundated with abusive and threatening e-mails since the list was published.

“They have said they will put them [his details] on as many sites as they can and they won’t leave us alone,” he said.

But Richard, a Blackpool hotelier, said: “We did have some strange phone calls last night but if you are a member of any party you should not be ashamed of it.”

The party’s spokesman Simon Darby said they had contacted bosses at a company involved with the blog to warn them of the consequences if it was not taken down.

He said: “We made representations to the offices of the company involved, stating the implications of what was happening and it seems to have worked.”

BNP leader, Nick Griffin, said the leak was “a disgraceful act of treachery” by former members.

In a statement on the party’s website, Mr Griffin said he had lodged a complaint with Dyfed-Powys Police on the grounds that the publication breached human rights and data protection laws.

He told the BBC’s Today programme the party would be using the Human Rights Act to try to protect the identities of its members, despite the BNP being against the European legislation.

He said he had “no problem at all” about the professions of members being in the public domain, which was “a matter of public interest”.

But publishing people’s names and addresses was a “nasty piece of intimidation” which he blamed on the “Labour regime”.

‘Professional embarrassment’

However, he welcomed the new media interest in the party as a result of the leak because it challenged the idea that the average member of the BNP “was a skinhead oik”.

“So in terms of repositioning us as a party genuinely made up of ordinary British people from all walks of life that will actually do us good,” he said.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said “everybody has a right to protection under data protection laws” but it was a matter for Dyfed-Powys Police as to whether the matter should be taken further.

And she told the BBC News Channel she did not mind people knowing she was a member of the Labour Party, adding: “I wonder why it is that BNP members are rather more ashamed of their membership.”

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: “It says it all about the BNP that so many of those on their database seem to be worried about being revealed as members. Who would join a party where membership is a social and professional embarrassment?”

‘Discretion required’

Occupations ascribed to the names on the list include teachers, a doctor, nurse and members of the armed forces.

While there is no ban on many of those professions joining the BNP, its policies are seen by many as incompatible with frontline public service.

The list also includes the name of one man alleged to be a vicar and another said to be a prison officer.

A Prison Service spokesman 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.”

Police officers are also banned from joining, a policy which is recognised in the list.

Alongside the name of a serving officer, the document states that there is “Discretion required re. employment concerns”.

The BNP said the publication could lead to identity theft and endanger children named in the list.

Some as young as 14 are included where their families have party memberships.

Earlier this year, the BNP obtained an injunction at the High Court in Manchester banning any publication of the list.

Mainstream bid

Mr Griffin earlier said the list was “essentially genuine”, but a number of names of people who were not or are not party members had been added.

He claimed the leak was linked to next year’s elections to the European Parliament and that those responsible were former members who had subsequently been sacked.

“Just six months before the proportional representation European Parliamentary elections give us the chance for a gigantic leap into the mainstream big-time, we get another leak intended to frighten the faint-hearted,” he said.

Trade unions will be able to expel members who belong to the BNP or any other organisation deemed to be in opposition to its beliefs under new laws due to come into force later this year.

North Wales Police said they would tackle any reports of an information breach “in the usual robust manner”.

The Information Commission will contact the BNP for the full facts of the case before deciding whether any action will be taken, a spokesman said.

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Published: 2008/11/19 13:41:44 GMT

1 Comment on "BBC News: BNP members ‘targeted by threats’"

  1. Gregory Lauder-Frost | 20 November, 2008 at 1:06 pm |

    There are a great many people on that list who simply are not BNP members nor were they members in 2007. (myself included) The BNP’s submissions to the Electoral Commission give circa 10,000 members yet this fraudulent list has over 12,000. It is painfully obvious a list has been stolen to order by The Left who have then added umpteen names of their hate figures to it.

    This has happened before. The BNP needs to tighten up its security nd this should include pressing criminal charges against the original thief as well as all those who have published data protected by the Data Protection Act. This case highlights the dangers of the Internet and it is clear that the law needs to be brought into play regarding what is on the Internet more forcefully, including prison.

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