17 January 2009

BNP meet under false name

Far-right British National Party members were last night accused of attempting to trick a Norfolk business into hosting their meetings by booking the venue under a bogus name.

The BNP - which has made repeated claims that it has nothing to hide as a legitimate political party - attempted to book a function room at a pub near Norwich under the pseudonym Broadland Historical Society.

An email, seen by the EDP, was sent to members planning to attend the meeting at the White Horse in Trowse on Sunday. It said: “We are in the downstairs meeting room. Use the entrance in the car park… The meeting has been booked under the name Broadland Historical Society. Please be discreet when in the bar area.”

Yesterday, Andrew Coleman, landlord at the White Horse, said he had cancelled the booking the moment he had been warned of the group's true intentions. He plans to put up posters explaining the decision in case any party members have not been informed and arrive on Sunday.

He said: “A lot of groups use our facilities and, when they made the booking, this seemed like a perfectly legitimate organisation.

“We can't get involved in these kinds of politics, particularly as they weren't open and honest about it from the start. It's not the type of people you want your pub to be associated with.

“I've always treated bookings on face value but now I am going to be a lot more suspicious and check out anything which doesn't seem quite right. The worrying thing is that the meeting would have taken place behind closed doors so, if I hadn't been tipped off about this, I would never have known. It's quite possible they're making similar bookings with other businesses without knowing what's going on under their own roof.”

The BNP did not respond to media inquiries yesterday. Its media office telephone was constantly engaged and emails went unanswered.

The meeting was due to be attended by the party's eastern area regional organiser Eddy Butler to discuss upcoming European and county council elections.

Last year, police were called to a BNP meeting at Stoke Holy Cross, near Norwich, attended by controversial leader Nick Griffin. Villagers had already objected to his presence and vandals struck, smashing windscreens and damaging cars with paint, while the meeting took place.

Mr Griffin had defended his right to speak in the county, telling the EDP that most opponents were “silly students and elderly University of East Anglia lecturers who do not represent the people of Norfolk”.

The BNP members' list, which was leaked in November, revealed the party has 12,000 members nationwide, including 220 from Norfolk.

Eastern Daily Press

We're pleased - and proud - to say that Norfolk Unity broke this story on Thursday evening. Thanks "SC".

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