Nick Griffin barred from Queen’s garden party
Palace accuses BNP leader Nick Griffin of ‘overtly using his personal invitation for party political purpose’
Right-wing BNP leader Nick Griffin's invitation to attend a Buckingham Palace garden party has been withdrawn at the 11th hour because "he has overtly used his personal invitation for party political purpose through the media".
In a statement Buckingham Palace said: "This in turn has increased the security threat and the potential discomfort to the many other guests also attending."
"The decision to deny entry is not intended to show any disrespect to the democratic process by which the invitation was issued. However, we would apply the same rules to anyone who tried to blatantly politicise their attendance in this way."
Griffin had been due to attend the party with his wife (above) and fellow British National Party MEP Andrew Brons. It is thought the Palace took exception to a post on the BNP blog attributed to Griffin that asked his party supporters what he should say to the Queen if "presumably due to some ghastly blunder by a courtier, I actually meet her".
In an interview with Sky News in which Griffin appeared still wearing the morning suit he had hired for the garden party, he said the decision was "an outrage" and "thoroughly anti-British".
He denied the blog post was "mischievous" and said the ban was the "British establishment closing ranks".
It is not the first time Griffin has had an invitation to a Buckingham Palace garden party, but ended up not going. Last year, he had been due to attend as the guest of BNP London Assembly member Richard Barnbrook, but decided to pull out after a public outcry.
This time, however, as a newly elected MEP, Griffin was entitled to an invitation in his own right. That didn't stopped anti-fascist campaigners from angrily denouncing the invitation at an event attended by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke of York.
A Unite Against Fascism spokesperson said: "I think this is a fantastic decision... The invitation in the first place was a blow for those who suffered in the Holocaust and, more recently, those who have suffered at the hands of racists and homophobes."
Earlier, with no hint of irony, Griffin had praised the Palace for not discriminating against him, saying on GMTV: "The palace have made it very, very clear that they will not discriminate against any elected MEP and I think that's the proper thing to do, so there's no embarrassment there at all."
The Palace, it seems, had other ideas, and managed in the end to find a solution. ·
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