Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito

Thursday, 31 March 2011

A fitting treasurer for such a chairman

The following article was recently published on the Lancaster Unity blog spot. It would appear, in the main, to be factually accurate if one makes due allowance for the hostile political perspective from which it was written. It is re-published here as part of a service to those members of the British National Party who wish to increase their understanding of the problems currently besetting our party, and the causes of those problems.

The article's re-publication here implies no support for the political orientation of its originator(s).

Where a BNP candidate receives leaflets, or other campaign material, for use in their election campaign, from the party, for which they are not expected to pay, this is what is known as a "notional donation". In such a case the matter of the payment of the printer of such leaflets, or other literature, does not arise as an issue for either the candidate or their election agent. Neither the candidate nor their election agent may be regarded as potentially guilty of an offence under electoral law in respect of the late or non-payment of the printer of literature which was received from the party as a notional donation. Only those who contract for goods or services, may be held responsible for ensuring payment in respect of them by the statutory dead-line.

Having made these points, however, the disrepute into which Mr Griffin and his creatures have brought the BNP through their reprehensible behaviour is, and ought to be, a matter of serious concern for each and every thinking member of our party.

There is no future for the BNP under Mr Griffin's continuing leadership. Consequently, new leadership for our party is a matter of the utmost importance and urgency.

I support Eddy Butler's call for every BNP member to refrain from running for election to public office, or serving as an election agent, until such time as Mr Griffin resigns as party leader.

March 29, 2011

Griffin’s agent made false election return

The British National Party’s election agent for Barking in last year’s general election could face prosecution for falsely stating a printing bill for election leaflets had been paid after he accepted a brazen lie from the party’s treasurer.

Richard Barnbrook, who at the time was the BNP’s London Assembly member, included bills from Newton Press in the return of election expenses that he submitted to the Barking returning officer on behalf of Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, and marked them as paid. Election law requires all a candidates’ expenses to be paid within 28 days.

Not only had the bill not been paid within 28 days, but Newton Press, a small printer in County Durham, is still waiting for its money. According to Eddy Butler, a former BNP officer who is campaigning for Griffin’s removal as leader, the BNP has refused to pay the firm around £15,000 that it owes for various printing services, including issues of the party’s paper Voice of Freedom.

Newton Press did not take the BNP’s no for an answer and established that around £6,000 of the bill was for newspapers delivered in Barking and that Barnbrook had accepted responsibility as Griffin’s agent. Making a false election expenses declaration can carry a prison sentence of up to one year or an unlimited fine or both unless the High Court accepts there was “reasonable cause” for the failure.

Barnbrook, who resigned the BNP whip last summer and now sits on the London Assembly as an independent, duly applied to the High Court. Yesterday Mr Justice Tugendhat rejected Barnbrook’s plea that the false return was not his fault because Dave Hannam, the party treasurer, had provided him with invoices falsely stamped “paid”. The agent is expected to be in real and genuine control of election expenditure, Mr Justice Tugendhat ruled, and Barnbrook should have made certain that the invoices had in fact been paid before signing off the return.

Mr Justice Tugendhat, who four years ago threw out a BNP candidate’s vexatious [sic] libel claim against Searchlight, has referred the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions, as election law requires, which means Barnbrook is likely to end up with a criminal conviction. According to Butler, Barnbrook, who “demeaned himself by touting himself around to various parties” in an attempt to get onto a London Assembly list that will secure his re-election in 2012, is now trying to return to the BNP.

The DPP could also proceed against Griffin as the candidate and agent are jointly responsible for the accuracy of the expenses return.

The BNP’s problems are unlikely to stop with Newton Press. The party has debts of over £500,000 including to several other printers money. Romac Press, the Belfast firm that printed the party’s main general election leaflets is owed £45,000, which means that election expenses returns in several constituencies were probably false.

After the European election in 2009, it emerged that most of the party’s election bills had been paid by Adlorries.com Ltd, a company owned by Jim Dowson, the party’s fundraising consultant who ended up controlling most of the BNP’s assets. Griffin’s party had to repay the “loan” over several months.

The BNP’s continuing inability to pay its debts and readiness to lie means that any candidate or election agent will be personally at risk if they use election leaflets supplied by the party. Butler has called on BNP members not to stand as a candidate or act as an agent while Griffin is chairman.

Hannam, who was widely derided in the BNP as incompetent, is no longer BNP treasurer, replaced after less than eight months in the job by the moronic Clive Jefferson on his rapid rise through the party. Lying seemed to come naturally to Hannam. Last summer he boasted that the BNP’s financial controls now ensured that “all legally required statement [sic] of accounts are submitted on time”. The next day it emerged that the party had failed to submit its 2009 accounts to the Electoral Commission by the deadline of 7 July, the third time it had been late.

In 2007, when Hannam was deputy treasurer, Ian Dawson wrote in his letter of resignation from his position as the party’s head of group support: “Hannam has messed things up from day one, before he got ‘bogged down’ in an audit, during it, and after it. If he worked in a bank he would not last a week. Not only is he incompetent, he also lies. Again, this can be proved time and time again, yet it seems that no matter how much some people lie, and however big the lies are, they get away with it. I can’t think of one thing that Dave does well – if there is something I have not seen it. That is not an exaggeration or an unnecessary insult, it is a fact.”

Griffin seems unconcerned about the latest blow to his party. In the week when nominations are due for the local elections in May and many party members are already refusing to stand in protest at his leadership, he is sunning himself on holiday in Cyprus. Rumour has it that Griffin, who may be held personally liable for the BNP’s debts, is looking for a bolthole in Northern Cyprus, which has no extradition treaty with the UK.

Hope not hate

1 comment:

  1. Upon further reflection, an agent or candidate should only be liable for prosecution under the Representation of the People Act for unpaid bills, if they made a contract for the printing work directly with an external printer who was not paid either by them or party central. For most candidates and agents their print supplier was the BNP and the production of a receipt from the party stating that the bill was paid should be sufficient to satisfy the Act. The fact that the BNP sub-contracted the print work to an external printer is irrelevant as far as the agent and candidates are concerned.

    Where the BNP acted as the print supplier, there were in law two contracts; one between the agent/candidate and the BNP; and one between the BNP and the external printer.

    If the agent/candidate have paid the BNP for the print work done, then they have discharged their obligations under the Representation of the People Act. If the BNP have subsequently failed to honour their contract with the external printer, then this is a separate matter entirely and has nothing to do with the agent/candidate.

    Where and agent/candidate have negotiated their printing contract directly with an external printer however, the contract is between the agent/candidate and the printer and it is the agent/candidates responsibility to ensure that payment is made.

    Imagine a situation where an agent/candidate did negotiate their printing contract directly with and external printer, Printer A. Imagine that Printer A, having secured the printing contract discovers that they have taken on too much work and subsequently sub-contracts with Printer B, for Printer B to do the actual printing. If the agent/candidate has paid Printer A for the work done and taken delivery of the printed material from Printer A, it is irrelevent whether or not Printer A subsequently pays Printer B for the work done, because the agent/candidate's contract was with Printer A and not Printer B. No court in the land would hold the agent/candidate liable if Printer A went bankrupt before paying Printer B, and by the same principle, no court in the land will hold the agent/candidate responsible if having paid the BNP, the BNP failed to pay their sub-contractors.

    In the case of Richard Barnbrook, I suspect that he must have been actively involved in negotiating the print work directly with the external printer.