Nick Griffin

The far-right British National Party (BNP) is treating voters to a taxpayer-funded Christmas trip to Strasbourg.

Nick Griffin, MEP and leader of the fiercely anti-European party, is taking advantage of an EU scheme that subsidises parties to take 110 visitors a year annually, travelling in groups of 10, to visit the EU headquarters in Brussels and the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

After the 90-minute tour, the BNP urges visitors not to miss local attractions like the famous Christmas market in Strasbourg.

"We have one of the early slots (hence the early start from our hotel) so as to allow plenty of free time in Strasbourg that afternoon," reads the party's website.

"At this time of year, Strasbourg hosts their annual Christmas market - a fantastic sight of some 300 cabins and stalls, a giant Christmas tree and an ice-rink - all centred around their Cathedral. This is the ideal place to do some last minute Christmas shopping, or just to soak up the environment of one of the oldest running Christmas markets in France."

The notice reminds party members that "it's not a holiday, it's a trip", and says that they hope to take a group of about 50 on the next visit.

Each visitor is subsidised for travel costs, at a rate of 8p per kilometre, putting the budget for a ticket from London to Strasbourg at £98.

Travellers are also provided with £50 for one night's accommodation costs and a £34 meal subsidy.

The party has been critical of EU 'waste' in the past, but claimed the scheme offered the chance to 'repatriate' EU money.

"Instead of going to supporting rebels in Syria or banana production in Guatemala, I'd much rather the money went into the pockets of our own people," a party spokesman told the Sunday Times.

Tory MEP Sajjad Karim told Huffington Post UK that Griffin's party was "hypocritical".

"It's beyond cheek, it really is" he said.

"These people have elected on the basis that they think the UK should not be a part of the EU, that EU is a tremendous waste of taxpayers' money, and look at what they do."

According to the EU, the trips are an important way of educating people about the function of the organisation, and what its main institutions do.

"The public should have easy access to its proceedings and premises, because it sees transparency as important to the exercise of democratic rights within the European Union," said a European Parliament statement.