Adam Walker: banned teacher becomes new BNP leader
Incoming BNP leader Adam Walker received a suspended jail sentence and a lifetime ban from teaching
After a sequence of disastrous election results, Nick Griffin has been replaced as leader of the British National Party (BNP), the far-right party has announced.
The party's website said that Adam Walker, a former teacher who was banned from the classroom for life in 2013, had been appointed acting chairman.
Walker, of Spennymoor, County Durham, was struck off after verbally abusing schoolboys, pursuing them in his car and slashing their bike tyres with a Stanley knife during an incident in 2011.
Walker was given a six month suspended sentence and a 12-month driving ban at Durham Crown Court and later banned from teaching.
The 44-year-old father of two brought an appeal against then Education Secretary Michael Gove to have the teaching ban overturned. He said the harsh punishment had been handed down due to his activism with the BNP.
He admitted he "made a mistake" that day, but said that he had been provoked by the boys, aged 10 and 12 during a St George's Day celebration in the town of Tudhoe, the BBC reports.
The karate instructor and former teacher at Houghton Kepier Sports College in Houghton-le-Spring said he had acted "in a moment of madness", but the punishment was "totally disproportionate" with the offence. But his appeal failed.
In stepping down, Griffin offered a message of support to the party's new chairman: "I believe that, with all our support, Adam will be a fine leader," he said.
Walker already has a reputation for fiery rhetoric. In a speech to the BNP last November, he warned that white Britons were under threat of "ethnic cleansing" and said that the three main political parties had turned Britain into a "multicultural sh*thole," The Independent reports.
Griffin leaves his role as BNP leader as a bankrupt and with the party in a state of disarray, says The Guardian. Griffin lost his seat in the European Parliament in the May elections, and the BNP's vote share in its traditional heartland in the north-west of England fell dramatically from its 2009 peak of 6.1 per cent to just 1.9 per cent.
Griffin was declared bankrupt in January this year after a dispute with lawyers over outstanding debts of £120,000.