The British National Party (BNP) is back on the Electoral Commission register after technically being a "dead" party for over a month. The BNP was stripped of its status as a political party on 8 January when it failed to hand over up-to-date records and pay a £25 registration fee, both legal requirements.
BNP candidates have since been banned from using the party's name, descriptions or emblems on the ballot paper at elections. Party officials dismissed claims it was a sign the group may be disbanding following a poor performance in last year's general election, instead blaming it on a "clerical error".
In a statement released on 11 February, the far-right party said it was "indestructible" and "here to stay", adding: "The BNP is now fully re-registered with the Electoral Commission, and gearing up to stand a full-slate of candidates in the GLA and a BNP London Mayoral candidate, David Furness, while standing in target seats across the country."
Furness will be looking to improve on the BNP's performance in the last 2012 London mayoral election where its candidate, Uruguayan Carlos Cortiglia, came in last place, receiving 1.3% of the vote.
The party has seen a decline since its peak years of 2009 and 2010 when it won two seats in the European parliament, including the election of former chairman Nick Griffin as MEP for North West England. The 2010 election saw it receive a record 563,743 votes and at one point the party had more than 50 councillors in town halls across the country.
But the next five years saw its supporter base decline as votes went elsewhere with the rise of Ukip and the creation of splinter right-wing movements. Bitter in-fighting and financial turmoil added to the the party's problems, and in the 2015 general election it received just 1,667 votes from its eight parliamentary candidates.
But BNP Chairman Adam Walker – a former teacher banned for life from the classroom – this week claimed the BNP's finances were strong, saying the party had started the year debt-free. It comes two weeks before the Commission is due to publish the financial accounts of all political parties for the last quarter of 2015.
Walker said his party had recently been left £180,000 from two members who died, meaning it "started the new year without carrying any debts over into 2016". He said donations had increased, even from "animal lovers" within its membership who he said were now changing their wills from the RSPCA to the BNP because the animal charity "refused to condemn the barbaric religious ritual slaughter of animals".
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