Deputy leader of BNP resigns

The deputy leader of the BNP has resigned in a seeming show of support for embattled leader Nick Griffin.

Simon Darby has used his blog to claim that he has sacrificed himself for the good of the BNP . He also says he hopes to try to head off any internal battles ahead of a leadership election, sparked by the party's poor showing in the general and local elections.

A challenge to Mr Griffin's leadership is being mounted by former elections officer Eddy Butler, with Nick Cass, the former Yorkshire regional organiser, as his running mate.

Mr Darby claimed that the post of deputy leader had been created by Mr Griffin in case he was imprisoned over race hate charges he faced four years ago ago. He said he did not want members "distracted by a sideshow".

He said: "I have not sacrificed 20 years of my life to see the opportunity and the movement, that we have created together, thrown away by ill-discipline, reckless ambition and self-importance."

He warned the party: "Don't wake up one morning later this year to find that we've lost Nick Griffin and his team, and replaced them with a jostling, squabbling, unstable, untested and indecisive coalition.

But Sonia Gable, writing in the anti-Fascist magazine Searchlight, rubbished Mr Darby's gesture, saying: "Darby's resignation, with immediate effect, is presented as an attempt to take the 'distraction' of the deputy leadership out of the leadership election, as if that would somehow make Cass go away.

"Darby also cites his 'self-imposed demotion' as giving him the 'moral right to ask that others at least exercise responsibility and restraint'.

"He rather spoils his attempt to occupy the moral high ground when he calls for an election that avoids "setting nationalist brothers and sisters against each other by repeating enemy lies and black propaganda about the current leader and his team".

    Last updated: 1:21pm, July 2 2010