29 April 2008

BNP London leader hosts convicted Holocaust-denier

Yesterday, with just three days to go until polling day, two leaders of the British National Party took time out from the campaign to attend a secret meeting in London with three leading European neo-fascists, one of whom has a recent conviction for Holocaust denial.

Initially billed as a press conference, its true purpose seems to have been to further the ambitions of Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, to become a Member of the European Parliament by building links with far-right MEPs.

A week ago Simon Darby, the BNP’s deputy leader and press officer, announced that the party was “honoured to be playing host to a special press conference to be held on the afternoon of Monday 28th April 2008” with “a number of guests from allied Parties from Europe”. They would include Bruno Gollnisch (above left), a French MEP and vice president of the far-right National Front, and Andreas Mölzer, an Austrian MEP and leading member of the Austrian Freedom Party.

Yet four days later the BNP had pulled the plug on the press conference, with Darby lamely declaring: “It looks like we’ve lost the venue, but our foreign friends have been most understanding about this.”

Searchlight’s mole, who had drawn our attention to the European fascists’ visit long before Darby announced it, was convinced that this was a smokescreen to cover up Darby’s breach of security in publicising the event so far in advance.

Our mole was right. Yesterday afternoon Gollnisch, Mölzer and Georg Mayer, an Austrian far-right political fixer, arrived at St Pancras International station on the Eurostar and were whisked off, not to a press conference but to a private meeting with Griffin and Richard Barnbrook, who heads the BNP’s candidates’ list for the London Assembly.

The meeting revealed the true face of the BNP, which has recently been making vigorous attempts to con Jewish voters in London into voting for the party. In January 2007 a French court handed Gollnisch a three-month suspended prison sentence and fined him €5,000 (£4,000) for denying the Holocaust. The court in Lyon found he had “disputed a crime against humanity” in remarks he made during a news conference in the city in October 2004.

Gollnisch had questioned the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust and said the “existence of the gas chambers is for historians to discuss”.

Mölzer is the publisher of Zur Zeit, an Austrian political magazine in which racism, antisemitism and xenophobia are staple features. Its recent promotion of openly Nazi and antisemitic books prompted the Berlin weekly Junge Freiheit, on which Zur Zeit was originally modelled, to sever all connections.

Georg Mayer is another Freedom Party officer and spokesperson for the far-right Identity Tradition Sovereignty group in the European Parliament until its collapse late last year when five far-right Romanian MEPs walked out in protest at anti-Romanian remarks by their Italian colleague Alessandra Mussolini. Gollnisch had been the group’s leader.

Searchlight would normally have informed the Home Office of an intended visit to Britain of a convicted Holocaust denier, but as we found when the BNP played host to Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of the French National Front who has several Holocaust denial convictions, MEPs enjoy a privileged status and cannot be excluded.

Instead Searchlight passed the information to the Evening Standard, with which we had been working on the story.

We later tracked down the visitors at the plush Rembrandt Hotel in South Kensington where they were staying the night and even managed to speak to Mayer about the event.

This latest confirmation of Griffin’s continued espousal of Holocaust denial follows days of revelations about Barnbrook’s bizarre personal relationships, his drunkenness and his incompetence as the BNP opposition leader on Barking and Dagenham council. It is typical of Griffin that he should attempt to boost his European aspirations regardless of the further damage that exposure of this meeting may cause to Barnbrook’s electoral prospects.

Today’s Daily Mail, which reveals the marriage that Barnbrook had hoped to keep hidden, to a woman who hates his politics, will be seen by millions of Londoners. At the same time, more than 700 Searchlight Hope not Hate volunteers are giving out 250,000 leaflets at 200 tube and railway stations across Greater London, making it Britain’s biggest ever anti-fascist drive on a single day.

Later today the Searchlight and Daily Mirror Hope not Hate bus will visit Downing Street, where Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Cabinet members will sign up to the campaign and endorse our message of Hope not Hate.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wish Griffin would make his mind up about whether he is a holocaust-denier and anti-semitic, or whether he considers himself none of the above.

It's very confusing with him chasing the Jewish vote and claiming to be the most Zionist party.

Please, will Mr Griffin stand up and admit what he is and always has been... a holocaust denier and anti-semite?