BNP's Nick Griffin barred from Palace

Nick Griffin

Nick Griffin

The BNP leader has been refused entry to this afternoon’s garden party at Buckingham Palace after officials decided his attendance would present too much of a danger to the other guests.

As a member of the European Parliament, Nick Griffin was due to be among the 8000 guests at the Queen’s annual event. But in an eleventh hour reversal Buckingham Palace announced he was to be denied access for politicising his invitation.

A Palace spokesman said the about-turn came because Mr Griffin had “overtly used his personal invitation for party political purpose through the media.”

"This in turn has increased the security threat and the potential discomfort to the many other guests also attending."

He made clear the Palace would apply the same rules to any politician who acted as “blatantly” as Mr Griffin had.

The spokesman added: “The decision to deny him entry is not intended to show any disrespect to the democratic process by which the invitation was issued.”

The controversial far right leader had been triumphant about his invitation, telling supporters he would be representing "a million British patriots” and asking for them to recommend subjects for him on which to quiz the Queen.

Mr Griffin said his attendance would be a sign of how far the extremist party has come.

John Mann, Chair of the All-Party Group Against Antisemitism, who has campaigned to stop BNP politicians gaining parliamentary passes and access to House of Commons facilities, praised the late decision.
The MP said: 'I fully support the Palace's actions.

“Griffin has once again proved he is an embarrassment to his constituents and to our country.”

Following the Palace announcement, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell repeatedly asked Mr Griffin to apologise to the British people for the BNP’s “long history of antisemitism, homophobia and attacks on the Muslim community?"

But Mr Griffin, challenged in public while speaking about his cancelled appearance, had no response.

Mr Tatchell said: “He looked sheepish. Then he just ran off. What a coward.”

“Griffin's minders shoved me down the stairs. It's proof that the BNP doesn't believe in free speech.

He added: “For many years, the BNP has preached a totalitarian ideology of anti-Jewish, anti-black, anti-gay and anti-Muslim hatred.

“It's racist views are an affront to democratic values.”

Other dignitaries set to attend include the Duke of York and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

In May Nick Griffin announced he would step down as BNP leader after the party lost all its London seats.

Mr Griffin suffered an enormous defeat in his bid to become MP for Barking, losing to Labour's Margaret Hodge on the back of a significantly increased turnout for her.

Last updated: 10:51am, July 23 2010