More than 600 BNP members in Essex

THE names of NHS workers and a solicitor are among more than 600 people from Essex said to be members of the British National Party.

James Hore

THE names of NHS workers and a solicitor are among more than 600 people from Essex said to be members of the British National Party.

A list of more than 10,000 members of the far-right political party was leaked on the internet but it has since been removed.

However the EADT has seen a copy of the information, which gives members' names, addresses, phone numbers and, in some cases, details of their jobs.

There are more than 600 people from Essex including nearly 50 from the Chelmsford district, 39 from Colchester and 31 from the Tendring area.

A total of 25 are listed for Braintree and 21 from Maldon, although the majority of people said to be members are from the south of the county.

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The BNP's leader and former Suffolk schoolboy, Nick Griffin, said the publication had been a “disgraceful act of treachery”.

Essex Police last night said they would fully investigate any offences committed as a result of the list's publication.

One 81-year-old from Colchester who was on the list, but cannot named for legal reasons, told the EADT he had left the party because he did not agree with its attitude to race issues.

He said: “I am no longer a member. The main political parties will never get us out of the mess we are in and their manifesto has some good proposals if you take the time to read it.

“However, I made it clear to them that whilst I support their views in the main, I will not be a member because they have a problem with people's colour.

“This country is overcrowded, no-one denies that, but it is a question of custom and numbers, it should not be a question of colour.

“I don't think they are intentionally racist - it is the way they present themselves.”

The pensioner said he was not happy that his name had been listed but said the party had told him it could not be removed from its list until January.

A Colchester solicitor is also listed although she was not available for comment last night.

A NHS worker from Colchester, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also listed and said she now feared being labelled a racist.

The radiography technician said she was no longer a member of the BNP and originally joined because she was disappointed with what the other political parties had done in the area.

She said: “I joined a while back, basically because I disagreed with all the immigrants coming in and nobody doing anything about it.

“But I don't see the colour of people - people are people - it does not make a difference to me.”

Simon Burns, MP for West Chelmsford, said: “The BNP preach a doctrine of hate and I personally would refuse to appear on a public platform with them.

“I don't think their members will be very amused by this list, but I am proud of being a member of the Conservative party because it is a respectable party and does not play upon people's fears and support that message of fear.

“I would not care two hoots if my name was published on a list of members of my party.”

Bob Russell, Colchester MP, said: “I agree with Simon Burns - we represent different political parties, but there is a difference between a different political point of view and one which is an anathema to what we hold dear in this democratic society where we are all equal in the sight of the Lord.”

Simon Darby, BNP spokesman, said: “It is looking increasingly likely that this is the work of Labour Party supporters.

“If they have not protected their IP (internet service provider address) properly, there will be an electronic trail leading back to the culprit.'”

In a statement on the party's website, BNP leader Nick Griffin said the list is more than a year old.

He said: “Having spent a lot of money to secure our members' privacy, we are disappointed that it's been breached.”

He initially accused former BNP staff members who have been sacked of leaking it.

According to the BNP the published information is based on its 2007 membership list - although a number of names of people who were not, or are not, party members had allegedly been added.

A spokesman for the Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust said: “Being a member of a legitimate political party does not restrict anyone from being an employee of this trust.

“Whatever your personal views of the party it is not illegal to be a member.”

An Essex Police spokesman said: “The release of the names, addresses and contact numbers of members of the BNP on the internet has received extensive media coverage.

“Communities or individuals may feel some concern following the release of this information.

“Essex Police will work with communities, individuals and neighbourhoods to resolve these concerns.

“Should there be any evidence of offences having been committed as a result of this information, then we will investigate them fully in line with our normal practice.”

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