You must be aware the Equalities and Human Rights Commission is saying it may launch a legal action against the BNP for its discriminatory membership policies. Their press release today states:
The letter, sent to the party chairman Nick Griffin, outlines the Commissionâ€™s concerns about the BNPâ€™s compliance with the Race Relations Act. The letter asks the BNP to provide written undertakings by 20th July that it will make the changes required by the Commission. Failure to do so may result in the Commission issuing an application for a legal injunction against the BNP.
The Commission has a statutory duty, under the Equality Act 2006, to enforce the provisions of the Act and to work towards the elimination of unlawful discrimination. This duty includes preventing discrimination by political parties.
The Commission thinks that the BNPâ€™s constitution and membership criteria may discriminate on the grounds of race and colour, contrary to the Race Relations Act. The partyâ€™s membership criteria appear to restrict membership to those within what the BNP regards as particular â€œethnic groupsâ€ and those whose skin colour is white. This exclusion is contrary to the Race Relations Act which the party is legally obliged to comply with. The Commission therefore thinks that the BNP may have acted, and be acting, illegally.
Anything that continues to highlight the BNP’s racist policies is good for me, especially since the BNP cannot say here that their membership policies merely echo those organisations such as the National Black Police Association (which has never had a bar on race).
But why has it taken them so long to launch this anyway? It’s good publicity now for everyone involved, but this BNP policy isn’t new, is it? Is this a belated attempt by Trevor Phillips to shore up his position?
Watch the press conference here (info via Zohra at the F Word)
Update: Afua Hirsch writes on the legal hoops it may have to jump.
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Filed in: Race politics,The BNP