The BNP faces legal action over its membership policy which only allows white people to join the party, it emerged yesterday.
The equality body believes the BNP’s constitution and membership criteria may discriminate on the grounds of race and colour, contrary to the Race Relations Act, as the party’s membership criteria appears to restrict membership to those within what the BNP regards as particular “ethnic groups”, and those whose skin colour is white.
John Wadham, EHRC group director, legal, said: “The legal advice we have received indicates that the British National Party’s constitution and membership criteria, employment practices and provision of services to constituents and the public may breach discrimination laws which all political parties are legally obliged to uphold.
“We await a response from the BNP to our letter before deciding what further action we may take. Litigation or enforcement action can be avoided by the BNP giving a satisfactory response to our letter.”
The commission is also concerned that the BNP’s elected representatives may not intend to offer or provide services on an equal basis to all their constituents and members of the public irrespective of race or colour.
The letter, sent to the party chairman Nick Griffin, asked the BNP to provide a written undertaking by 20 July to respond to the allegations, with a statement declaring that it would not discriminate on the grounds of race or colour in its employment and membership policies, and that it would not discriminate in the provision of services to members of the public.