BNP mystery after failure to register

 

BNP treasurer Clive Jefferson and Merseyside Police putting on a good show for potential donors

BNP treasurer Clive Jefferson and Merseyside Police putting on a good show for potential donors

Anti-fascists and mainstream journalists have been celebrating the demise of the British National Party after it was struck off the Register of Political Parties a fortnight ago, apparently having failed to submit its registration fee of just £25.

These celebrations might be seen as belated – since in terms of serious politics the BNP ceased to exist some time ago.

Or they might be seen as premature – given that the party should be able to register in a few weeks time without difficulty.

It’s not yet clear whether such a re-registration would be in time for the BNP to stand candidates in the London Mayoral and Assembly elections and other local contests.  Nomination papers for the Mayoral election have to be submitted by March 31st – but that’s only one obstacle.  The deposit for this election is £10,000, and 330 signatures are required – ten from each of the 32 London boroughs and ten from the City of London.

This collection of signatures will be an immense administrative task for a party that now only has functioning branches in two or three of those boroughs.

All this raises a question more interesting than the confected media storm over the party’s failure to register.  Just what is going on inside the dying BNP?

As H&D explained some time ago, the BNP now exists not as a functioning political party but merely in the hope of collecting legacies from the wills of misguided patriots, no doubt including some tragic cases who made their wills back in the days when the BNP seemed a serious organisation and are now too enfeebled by age to change them.

In charge of the party’s finances is 49 year old Clive Jefferson, a man well known to the police and the criminal fraternity. A couple of years ago Jefferson joined forces with Patrick Harrington to oust Nick Griffin from the BNP leadership and instal Adam Walker.

Even some of those who were happy to see the back of Griffin and remained loyal to the Walker-Harrington BNP have since quit in despair, partly because of Jefferson’s pervasive influence. Among the most recent departures were long serving Leicestershire councillor Cathy Duffy and London organiser Steve Squire, who were among the BNP’s few remaining serious activists.

London BNP organiser Steve Squire, who quit at the end of November just after the BNP's proscription of three nationalists groups

London BNP organiser Steve Squire, who quit at the end of November just after the BNP’s proscription of three nationalist groups

Just at the time when they should have been ensuring that electoral registration was in the post before Christmas, BNP head office were busy “proscribing” several other nationalist organisations with links to Steve Squire and other respected figures in the movement. (“Proscription” is a Stalinist term employed by the BNP frequently since Nick Griffin’s time – it means that no BNP member is allowed to have any contact with a “proscribed” member or organisation.)

The proscription notices were for some reason not publicised but were issued on November 28th in an obscure section of the BNP website.  Newly proscribed organisations were:

  • British Renaissance, so far a mostly internet based umbrella group organised by Jack Sen, who organised a Sunday lunchtime conference in Southport, Lancashire attended by many movement veterans in the same week as the proscription
  • European Knights Project, an international body with ties to South African and American nationalists who had provided financial backing for Jack Sen during his much publicised split from UKIP, and had also supported Steve Squire’s London BNP campaigns
  • London Forum, one of the most successful nationalist ventures of recent years, organised by ex-serviceman Jez Turner and providing platforms for a wide range of nationalists and patriots including some in the BNP.

Earlier last year Jack Sen had briefly been a BNP member after his much publicised expulsion from UKIP for “anti-semitism” during the 2015 general election campaign, when he was UKIP parliamentary candidate for West Lancashire.  He left the party after a row with Jefferson’s trusted aide and webmaster Chris Barnett.

Jefferson-JackSen

Jack Sen (right) meeting BNP chairman Adam Walker and treasurer Clive Jefferson at Yates’s in Preston city centre, May 2015

Despite this split Jack Sen remained on good terms with some of the last remaining loyal and active BNP organisers in the North West: his Southport event was attended by Eddy O’Sullivan from Manchester, Gary Tumulty and Kay Pollitt from Salford, and Alan Payne a veteran from NF days who was organiser of Manchester & Salford BNP in the John Tyndall era. All of these now face expulsion from the BNP if they remain in connect with British Renaissance – of which Eddy O’Sullivan and Gary Tumulty are executive board members.

The executive board of British Renaissance also includes some of the leading figures from the Griffin-era BNP such as Alwyn Deacon, former West Midlands regional organiser and National Elections Officer, and Paul Hilliard, the Derbyshire organiser who contested the BNP leadership against Adam Walker last year.

While Jack Sen was recruiting some of the party’s best activists, the Walker-Harrington BNP couldn’t even submit a simple registration form on time. However the rump BNP’s factotum Clive Jefferson did find time to register two new limited companies at the end of last year – he had no trouble filling in those forms and submitting the necessary fees to Companies House.

Jefferson is listed as sole director, company secretary and sole shareholder of two companies based at Garden Studios in Covent Garden, a firm which offers business addresses and mail forwarding for £50 a month.  The deposit for this service will have cost Jefferson £200 (or £400 if he also opted for telephone forwarding) – far more than the paltry £25 which he failed to pay for the BNP’s electoral registration.

These two new companies registered by Jefferson (more than 300 miles away from his home on Slatefell Drive, Cockermouth, Cumbria) are Freedom Promotions Ltd (registered on December 22nd) and Freedoms Publishing Ltd (registered on November 13th).  Conveniently no accounts will be due until the summer of 2017.

Clive Jefferson with Nick Griffin's son-in-law Angus Matthys (right), back in the days when they were BNP colleagues and business partners

Clive Jefferson with Nick Griffin’s son-in-law Angus Matthys (right), back in the days when they were BNP colleagues and business partners

It’s possible that these are intended to replace Jefferson’s previous front company Heritage Content Management Limited, which he set up with Nick Griffin’s son-in-law Angus Matthys in July 2013.  This was struck off in November 2015 after failing to submit any accounts. No doubt part of the problem was that the two directors Jefferson and Matthys were at loggerheads following the 2014 ousting of Griffin and his family.

Will the two new companies ever submit accounts? Are they designed to handle BNP assets, legacies and donations? And why can paid employees of the BNP find time to register front companies at posh London offices but not submit simple forms to keep the party in existence and enable it to fight elections? Watch this space…

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