Revealed: Ukip official gave money to the BNP


The Telegraph


It don’t get no better does it?

And they are not even in power yet. 

Get a fucking grip.

Revealed: Ukip official gave money to the BNP

By Andrew Alderson and Robert Watts

12:01AM GMT 04 Mar 2007

A senior official from the UK Independence Party gave money to the far-Right British National Party and met the party’s leader.

David Abbott, a general practitioner who serves on Ukip’s ruling national executive committee, made a donation to American Friends of BNP while he was living and working in the US.

He also attended a meeting in America at which Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, was a guest speaker and the two men met afterwards. Later, having returned to Britain, Dr Abbott attended an annual dinner of the Trafalgar Club, a fund-raising group for the BNP, at which Mr Griffin was again present.

Dr Abbott, who used to live in Oregon and who still works in America for part of the year, met Mr Griffin in the US at a meeting of American Renaissance, described by critics as a white supremacist group.

The disclosure is deeply embarrassing for the Euro-sceptic Ukip, which has gone out of its way to deny any association with far-Right groups, including the BNP.

The party fears any such links will lead to voters deserting it.

Dr Abbott has served on Ukip’s executive for a year and his fellow committee members know about his BNP links. Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, admitted that he knew about the donations.

“We are not thrilled with this but he was living in the States at the time and was perhaps somewhat naive about the UK political situation,” he said.

“It’s not a situation that I am terribly comfortable with. We have a firm policy that nobody who has been a BNP member is entitled to be a candidate for us or a branch officer.”

The Ukip leadership discovered Dr Abbott’s links with the BNP three years ago after he had been chosen as a candidate to fight the European elections.

An email sent by Mark Croucher, the former director of communications for Ukip, in August last year, highlighted the problems caused by Dr Abbott’s BNP links. “These allegations surfaced the day after nominations for the European elections closed in 2004, and subsequently Abbott signed a declaration that he would not assume his seat in the European Parliament should he be elected,” he wrote.

“Having dealt with him at the time, I found his recollection of these events was affected by what he thought the listener wanted to hear, and bore little relation to the facts as known. For example, he claimed to ‘not know who the BNP were’, and to have made the donations to a BNP official, not to the BNP itself. Both of these were subsequently proved false.”

Dr Abbott stood as a Ukip candidate in the 2004 European election and polled 1,300 votes in the constituency of Winchester, Hampshire, in the 2005 general election.

The 63-year-old, who lives in Winchester, said he had given two payments of $100 -a total of just over £100 – to the American Friends of BNP as part of donations to several “good causes”. He said he was not familiar at the time with the BNP’s politics and added: “I am absolutely not a racist. I didn’t realise at the time any contact with the BNP tarred you with a certain brush.” American Friends of BNP was formed in the US in 1999 to enable Britons living abroad to raise money for the party. When its leader, Mark Cotterill, returned to Britain several years ago, the group disbanded.

Mr Griffin confirmed that his party had received money from Dr Abbott and that he had met him in the US.

“Ukip holds no terrors for us whatsoever,” he said. “We consider Ukip to be institutionally corrupt from top to bottom. Hundreds of our members are ex-Ukip.”

Mr Farage denied the scale of the defections from his party to the BNP suggested by Mr Griffin and added: “Any one who has defected was in the wrong party. We have totally different philosophies and agendas.”

Ukip has been faced with a series of damaging revelations over the past month, including the fact that it was the subject of an investigation by the Electoral Commission for alleged financial irregularities.

Last week, it emerged that the party had blocked a man who wanted to be a full candidate because he is disabled.