Anti Fascism,  UK Politics

BNP may face prosecution over dodgy accounts

This is a cross post by Edmund Standing

The Times reports:

The British National Party may face prosecution after providing accounts to the Electoral Commission that failed to give a “true and fair view” of its financial circumstances.

The far-Right party, which has already been fined for filing its accounts six months late, must produce further details by Friday.

The news comes as figures released by the commission yesterday reveal how the party exaggerated its spending during the European elections, in which it won two seats, including that of Nick Griffin, the party leader.

Mr Griffin has often claimed that the BNP spent more than £500,000 during the campaign. In fact, the party spent much less, £282,843 — only £54,000 more than it did during 2004.

Mr Griffin’s claims had raised eyebrows, —particularly because the party had declared less than £25,000 in donations since January 2008.

Simon Darby, the BNP deputy leader, yesterday blamed bureaucracy for the errors and said the party needed to exaggerate because “if we had said we wanted to spend 10p, it wouldn’t do us any good. … there’s a bit of hyperbole with politics”. He refused to comment further on the discrepancy, saying that it was not a “worthy question”.

But this is a very worthy question, especially as this is not the first time the BNP have been in trouble for their poor accounting.

This year’s accounts included the following extraordinary comments from the independent auditors who examined them:

Attention is drawn to the comments made in the “Chairman’s Report” regarding the task of maintaining central office accounts, and the resulting fact that it has not been possible for the Party to submit an adequate set of records to us.

Accordingly in our opinion the financial statements do not:

1 Give a true and fair view of the state of the party’s affairs at 31st December 2008.

2 Give a true and fair view of the results for the year then ended.

In our opinion it cannot be said the accounts comply with the requirements of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, as adequate records have not been made available.

And there’s more. As Sonia Gable points out in this article, ‘Despite the unreliability of the accounts, the figures are very interesting as they prove that the BNP has lied repeatedly to its members and donors’.