Griffin's BNP to claim Euro millions
THE FAR-RIGHT British National Party could reap £4 million after winning its first term in the European Parliament, giving it financial ammunition for the general election.
Generous salaries, allowances for staff and even a communications budget will allow the party to fund its propaganda courtesy of the EU.
After Labour's dramatic collapse in its share of the vote, the BNP managed to snatch two Brussels seats, with leader Nick Griffin winning a North West England seat and Andrew Brons representing Yorkshire and the Humber.
Mr Griffin said his party had done well because "anti-white racism" was not taken seriously by politicians, the media or the police. He said: "The Labour Party, the Lib Dems and the Tories, by leaving the door to Britain open, have forced people to turn to a party which speaks openly about the problem of immigration."
Foreign Secretary David Miliband condemned the election of two BNP MEPs as "damaging for Britain" while Conservative leader David Cameron said the result was "desperately depressing … they are an appalling bunch of people".
Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said Mr Griffin was the "Hannibal Lecter" of British politics and he derided the party as "scum". But in an ironic twist, if the BNP wants to maximise its allowances in Brussels, the party will have to cosy up to as many foreign politicians as possible, The Scotsman has learned.
The anti-immigration party, which bans ethnic minorities from becoming members, will now have to embrace a large number of non-English speakers in its European parliament groupings if it wants to take advantage of expenses perks. Complicated funding arrangements for the European Parliament make it more lucrative for smaller national parties to band together with other language speakers to ensure they receive more money for interpreting services.
The party will take two salaries of 91,980 a year (£80,443), an annual staff budget of up to 210,480 (£184,083) – which can be used to hire staff in the UK as well as in the European Parliament – and a communications and postal allowance of 50,424 (£44,100) a year which does not require receipts. A daily allowance of 298, to be used for accommodation and food, with a maximum annual amount of 88,804 (£78,000) can also be claimed. But to reach the maximum, the party will have to join forces with other national groups to claim an interpretation allowance of up to 80,000 (£70,000) for both MEPs a year. The total amount in salary, expenses and perks over ten years could be more than £4 million. The same pot of cash can also be used for propaganda purposes.