A political party with links to the BNP and National Front is running in the European elections on a multicultural slate with Tamil, Sikh and Kurdish candidates, Channel 4 News can reveal.
Former National Front deputy chairman Graham Williamson, who sits on the executive of the BNP-supported “trade union” Solidarity is running for election in London on a multicultural election list for the National Liberal Party (NLP).
We can reveal that Williamson founded the National Liberal Party with Nick Griffin’s European parliament staff manager and former National Front leading figure Patrick Harrington.
The organisation’s manifesto gives no indication of the party’s far-right roots declaring: “the National Liberal Party is putting forward a team of 8 ethnically and racially diverse candidates – Tamil, Sikh, Azerbaijan, Kurdish, English, north Borneo (sabah-sarawak), to represent the real grassroots London.”
Harrington and Williamson have run a nationalist think tank called Third Way together for two decades. Third Way is named after and develops so-called third-positionist strategies – influenced by the ideology of Italian self-described fascist Robert Fiore.
Third Way published a leaflet last year with the slogan “Want a Muslim neighbour? Vote UKIP”, which was described as an “excellent” resource by the BNP.
Third-positionist politics greatly influenced the “political soldier” faction of the National Front, this group included Graham Williamson, Nick Griffin and Patrick Harrington.
Together the political soldier faction voiced support for black separatist Louis Farrakhan, Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi and Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini as part of their new nationalist strategy.
In 1990, a year after the political soldiers voted to disband the National Front, Third Way was founded as a political think tank. They re-registed as National Liberal Party – The Third Way in 2006 to run candidates in local elections.
Belfast Third Way member and former NLP election candidate David Kerr is another ex-National Front political solider and Solidarity Union executive member. He is an outspoken advocate of independence for Northern Ireland, a policy echoed by the current NLP.
I was chosen by the other candidates to represent the English community. They were aware of my background of 25 years ago.
Documents seen by Channel 4 News show that in 2009 David Kerr was listed as NLP party leader, Patrick Harrington as nominating officer and Graham Williamson as treasurer.
The NLP are directly appealing for ethnic minority votes, focusing on national struggles abroad and with particular emphasis on injustices in Sri Lanka and India.
Their manifesto states: “There are at least 200,000 Sikhs in London, 100,000 Tamil, 80,000 Kashmiri, 60,000 Kurds, and perhaps some 200,000 others from smaller Diasporas, who wish that their brethren ‘back home’ could enjoy the same freedoms we enjoy here.”
To take a seat a party would need close to 200,000 votes. Until party members were made aware of Williamson’s ties to the far-right he was the top candidate and would have taken any seat won by the work of other party members.
Williamson has developed a strong relationship with the Tamil community as a director of Act Now, a trusted human rights group that supported the Tamil community when the war with Sri Lanka ended in 2009.
We weren’t aware of it – we entered into an organisation we believed would be a good platform
National Liberal Party candidate Jagdeesh Singh
Corporate Watch investigator Phil Miller made Channel 4 News aware of the roots of Williamson’s electoral alliance explaining: “He stood in the cold with the Tamils at countless protests. He was one of the few white faces there…he came across as articulate, compassionate and charismatic.”
“This is not the first time the far-right has tried to work with ethnic-minority groups. In fact, Williamson and Griffin pioneered the strategy when they led the National Front together in the late 1980s.
“Robert Fiore (architect of Third Way fascism) urged white far-right parties to ally with third world national liberation movements and separatists. They were all nationalists, after all. This had the convenient benefit of allowing the National Front to say it was not racist, because it had black friends.”
“Although it was a disastrous failure then, that does not appear to have deterred them from trying it again now. What is frightening is how close they have got to pulling it off.”
On NLP election material, which includes Tamil and Punjab flags, Williamson is billed as “representing the English community”.
NLP candidate Jagdeesh Singh said he was not aware of the party’s origins when he joined but says he fully supports Graham Williamson; “We weren’t aware of it – we entered into an organisation we believed would be a good platform.
“Graham Williamson, I’ve worked with him for three to four years on a variety of national freedom cases and never found him to be a racist,” he said.
“He is a trusted part of our group he is not the lead candidate now, we are campaigning on the rights of nations their ethnic rights and rights in international law.”
When asked by Channel 4 News about Mr Williamson’s involvement in the Solidarity union and work with former NLP officer Patrick Harrington Jagdeesh Singh claimed; “Patrick Harrington has no links to our group. We reject Nick Griffin, we reject the far-right, we are standing voices for diversity and empowerment of grassroots people.
Graham Williamson told Channel 4 News; “The National Liberal Party is an independent political party. It is run by a multi-ethnic National Council. It has no links to other parties.”
“I was chosen by the other candidates to represent the English community. They were aware of my background of 25 years ago. I have moved on however to embrace the Britain of today not the past.”
“Parties like the BNP are racial nationalists that believe a nation can only be based upon an exclusive ethnic group. I totally disagree with that concept and reject those that promote that idea for it can only lead to division and strife.
“The UK’s values are culturally liberal and founded upon liberty, tolerance and an inclusive patriotism.”
He also denied any link between Solidarity and the BNP, despite his name being listed on the BNP website in a piece announcing the organisation’s new executive last October.
He did confirm he is a member of the union.
Williamson remains friends with Harrington on Facebook along with members of other far-right splinter groups, including the British Democratic Party and English Democrats.
(Pictured left: a young Patrick Harrington)
The NLP website contains an article praising Austrian far-right politician Jörg Haider as a “national liberal”.
Haider was strongly opposed to Islam and once controversially stated: “Human rights and democracy are as incompatible with the Muslim religious doctrine as is the equality of women”.
On the site’s election pages no mention is made of Williamson’s past in the National Front or years of activism with Third Way or the BNP backed Solidarity union, he is billed as a “PR consultant and legal advisor based in London”.
On Wednesday night, the NLP deleted a goal from its website that said the party aimed for a society run “in conjunction with the work of the Third Way ‘Think-Tank'”.
Balwinder Singh Rana, Spokesperson for the group Sikhs Against the EDL, has dealt with attempts by far-right groups to ally with the Sikh community in the past.
He told Channel 4 News: “We warn all Sikhs that this organisation may pretend to be our friends today but having used us for their own sinister purposes, would spit us out tomorrow.
“When Sikhs begin to find out the truth about the National Liberal Party the vast majority of them would want to have nothing to do with this organisation as the Sikhs would not be easily fooled.”
The National Liberal party is in no way linked to the Liberal Democrats.