Bankruptcy will not stop MEP bid says BNP leader

BNP leader Nick Griffin
BNP leader Nick Griffin
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The leader of the extreme-right British National Party has been declared bankrupt but insisted he will continue as member of the European Parliament for the North West and run for re-election in May.

A listing at the Insolvency Service showed Nick Griffin was declared bankrupt at Welshpool and Newtown County Court on Thursday.

Mr Griffin tweeted: “Being bankrupt does not prevent me being or standing as an MEP.

“It does free me from financial worries. A good day!

“Party funds are not affected in any way.

“Our campaign in May will be our most professional yet and I will be lead candidate in the North West.

“I am now turning the experience to the benefit of hard-up constituents by producing a booklet on dealing with debt.

“No surrender.”

He later added: “To all the NUJ pressitutes wanting interviews on this politically irrelevant nothing, if you’d called when I helped stop Cameron’s Syrian...”

Mr Griffin will be automatically discharged from bankruptcy in one year, on January 2 2015, in accordance with the Insolvency Act.

Mr Griffin was elected for the North West region of England in 2009.

Advice published by the Electoral Commission said bankruptcy in itself does not bar someone from being a member of the European Parliament or standing for election.

Restrictions are only triggered if an individual is made subject to a bankruptcy restrictions order or debt relief restrictions order.

The Insolvency Service said such orders had not been made in Mr Griffin’s case.

Before April 1, 2004 being bankrupt itself would have disqualified a person from standing as an MEP or MP.

The restriction was amended as part of the Insolvency Act 1986 so only the addition of a Bankruptcy Restriction Order on top of being bankrupt means a person being disqualified.

Mr Griffin ran for the parliamentary seat of Keighley in the 2005 General Election, polling circa 4,000 votes but ultimately losing the seat to Labour.

He would later stand in the 2010 election in Barking, where once again he failed to win the seat.

In 2006 Mr Griffin was arrested by police over remarks he made about Islam in an undercover documentary titled The Secret Agent and was subsequently charged with using words likely to stir up racial hatred.

A subsequent trial at Leeds Crown Court resulted in his being cleared of half of the offences with a jury unable to reach a verdict on the remainder.

At a retrial the jury cleared him of all charges.