The far-right party has been given until the end of the month to file its accounts because it was unable to meet the original 7 July deadline. A second failure could mean a fine of up to £5,000.
The party admitted it was struggling because of the current ‘carry on’ with Barclays, which has said it will close the BNP’s bank accounts in the wake of damaging revelations in a recent BBC documentary. Screened last week, the programme showed party members confessing race crimes and its leader, Nick Griffin, describing Islam as a ‘vicious wicked faith’.
BNP spokesman John Walker said that he had ‘no idea’ if it would now be possible to meet the deadline. ‘All parties should be monitored financially and we cannot do that without a bank account,’ he added.
The Electoral Commission confirmed it had granted an extension to the BNP due to ‘exceptional circumstances’, which it declined to disclose.
Mike Kelly, compliance manager at the commission, said: ‘As a party with a gross income of more than £250,000, they are required to submit a statement of accounts. We have granted them an extension to the end of July.’
John Brayshaw, BNP former treasurer, said: ‘The party treasurer has been unable to complete the accounts because of this carry on.’
The electoral commission said it would take enforcement action if the BNP failed to meet the new deadline. But the BNP accused the commission of double standards. Walker said: ‘If they come down on us hard for our first misdemeanour we would be saying, “hang on one second”.’
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