Local (i.e. Birmingham) newspaper, The Sunday Mercury, has an interesting tale to tell this week. If its report is to be believed then the BNP is in pretty serious financial trouble having made a loss of around £94,000 in the last year and leaving the party with debts of around £52,000.
To make matters worse for the BNP (and better for everyone else), the report also claims that the BNP’s current financial stem from a combination of a significant drop in party membership and the abandonment of the party by some of its more generous donors.
Information on the precarious state of the BNP’s finances has emerged in the last couple of weeks following an internal party wrangle, which resulted in the expulsion of Sharon Ebanks from the party. Ebanks was, for a short period earlier this year, a Birmingham City Councillor as a result of an error in the count for the Kingstanding ward, which was later overturned by the High Court. No official reason has been given as to why Ebanks was expelled by BNP leader, Nick Griffin, leading to speculation in last week’s Sunday Mercury that it may have been come about as a result of a story in the same paper, earlier this year, which claimed that Ebanks is of mixed-race parentage, an allegation she denies:
Soon after her doomed election, the Sunday Mercury told how she was the daughter of Jamaican-born Radwell and Jean Ebanks, who lived in West Bromwich.
Ms Ebanks admitted she was born during that mixed marriage – a relationship the BNP argues against.
But she claimed she was the result of her mum’s extra-marital fling with ‘a white, Scottish alcoholic who is now dead’.
However, from comments posted by her supporters on the Stormfront forum, it would appear that the real cause of her expulsion from the party lies in a dispute over payment of £5,000 in court costs incurred by Ebanks in trying, unsuccessfully, to hang on to the seat on Birmingham City Council, which the BNP have now refused to pay.
Dear Mrs Ebanks,
I am surprised to have received the attached letter from the treasurer of the BNP.
In view of this refusal to pay, would you please let me have the funds as ordered by the court, and to assist I will extend the time such that I must receive the funds within the next 7 days. If this is not received I will be forced to commence enforcement proceedings for recovery. As this is effectively a court judgment I think it correct to inform you that bankruptcy proceedings is an option that is open in addition to the usual routes for recovery.
PO BOX 158
Tel 0870 7515296 Mob 07815 146712 BRITAIN FIRST!
Steel & Hamish Solicitors
12 Baylis Road
19th October 2006
Your Ref: GDS/DTT/30781-0035
Re: Election Petition- Kingstanding Ward, for Sharon Ebanks
Thankyou for your letter of the 16th of October. After making enquiries it appears there has been a misunderstanding.
The British National Party has no legal agreement with Sharon Ebanks to meet any payments on her behalf for costs awarded against her by the court. You will have to pursue this matter directly with her.
A view of events seemingly verified by Ebanks’ own comments on a different US-based White Supremacist forum:
I’m sacked for speaking out about Lee Barnes and the lack of Transparency regarding the BNP accounts.
I’m sacked for telling John Walker that if the party couldn’t raise £5000 for my costs then serious financial mismanagement must be going on. To which he responded he would "Pull the ****ing rug from underneath me and leave me high and dry"
I am sacked for telling members that I was told by Simon Darby that I shouldn’t push Lee Barnes "Because if the chairman has to choose it will be Barnes"
And, I am apparently being charged with being anti semetic (sic)
Freedom of speech? Having a joke aren’t they?
Simon Darby, is busy telephoning everyone and telling them, but he has yet to phone and tell me.
Ebanks’ expulsion and the BNP’s decision not to cover her court costs has stirred up a fair bit of controversy on Stormfront, with her supporters crying foul and claiming that the BNP had received money from supporters specifically to cover the costs of Ebanks’ case following an appeal for funds, only then to refuse to cover the bill once it came due.
Over several posts her supporters have claimed that Ebanks only went ahead with the case on the advice of the BNP, having been given access to Nick Griffin’s own solicitor, and only after the BNP promised to cover any legal costs, and have reposted an article from the BNP’s own website (filed on 12 May 2006) which appears to confirm that it DID make an appeal on behalf of Ebanks:
12th May 2006
News article filed by BNP news team
With newly elected BNP councillors still being sworn in up and down the country on a daily basis, the results in two wards at least must now be contested in the High Court.
Despite the admission by the council that was their error which denied us a twelfth seat in Barking, electoral law puts the onus on our candidate to lodge a writ in the High Court to get the result declared invalid and overturned in our favour. Once that is done, Jeff Steed will take his seat as the duly elected British National Party candidate for Eastbury ward.
Meanwhile the third placed Labour candidate in Birmingham Kingstanding yesterday lodged £2,500 in the High Court in the Strand in order to bring an action under Section 136 of the Representation of the People Act to have Sharon Ebanks’ stunning BNP victory declared invalid.
We are taking urgent legal advice on this matter, and will do everything possible to resist this attempt to use what we believe to be an unauthorised, illegal and hopelessly compromised behind-closed-doors ‘reassessment’ of the votes cast to rob the people of Kingstanding of their democratically chosen BNP councillor. There is already a police investigation into the whole affair as a result of a complaint lodged by BNP West Midlands regional organiser Simon Darby.
In addition, we are having to take legal advice on the position in two other seats at present: In Heanor, Derbyshire, where ‘recounts’ were held behind our people’s backs, and in Longton North in Stoke, where the marked register (the list which shows how many people voted) indicates that many more electors went to the polls than the final figure of votes turning up in the ballot boxes at the count purports to show.
Who were the ‘missing’ votes for? Where did they go? And can we get the result overturned and a by-election called? Michael Coleman of Stoke BNP is likely to be lodging a formal complaint of theft with the local police later today.
The bill for the preliminary advice on these cases is likely to run to thousands of pounds, on top of which we have to pay both solicitors and barristers to get into court within the next few days to secure or defend the two seats which we won fair and square.
It is likely that the total bill for all of this over the next few days alone will be up to £10,000 (with the Kingstanding case potentially costing even more) – at a time when we are naturally financially strapped as a result of the big push that won us so many victories on May 4th. The trouble, to be brutally frank, is that the British National Party is now playing in the political Premier League, but still has the resources of a Conference League minnow.
So we’re urging especially our new readers, those who haven’t already bled their bank accounts white to help us win, to dig deep to help us secure the fruits of victory and prevent New Labour scams from further undermining the democracy for which generations of our forebears gave their lives.
UK residents who are on the current electoral register are asked to give as much as possible (there is no upper limit) electronically here [link removed] or by cheque and snail mail to [details omitted].
Overseas supporters or those not on the UK register may give a maximum of £200 per year to the party as above, but are not permitted to give more in any calendar year. However, we have been told that the independent organisation Civil Liberty has decided to support Sharon Ebanks as an individual in her fight against New Labour sour grapes and persecution.
As Civil Liberty is not a political party there is no upper limit on the amount that overseas residents can give, so we do hope that a good number of them will take this opportunity to help the Cause. Donations to Civil Liberty can be made here [link removed].
It has been known for years that the left-liberals have increasingly taken to using fraud and underhand sharp practice to maintain their grip on elections in Britain. A successful outcome in even one of these cases, indeed, just the fact that our people are willing and able to bring them, will help to deter such attempts to deny the voters their right to choose in free and fair elections in future. Just at present, nothing is more important, so we thank you for your continued generous support for the fight for freedom.
Civil Liberty, which claims to be an “independent, non-political organisation autonomous of any political party in Britain” is run by Kevin Scott, a former BNP regional organiser, and every single person listed on Civil Liberty’s site as supporting or benefiting from their work is a BNP activist.
Also surfacing on Stormfront as a result of this ‘row’ is this letter from Lee Barnes to the Birmingham Evening Mail, which was also posted on the BNP’s website but has since been removed:
From ; BNP Legal Affairs Unit
Date – 8th May 2006
Over the last few days your newspaper has been attacking the BNP Councillor for Kingstanding, Cllr. Sharon Ebanks, for taking up the position in light of a potential legal challenge.
It is our contention that Cllr. Ebanks lawfully won her seat and that the Council are trying to cover up their own incompetence by saying that she did not. The fact that the Returning Officer on the night of the count did not ;
A) make arrangements for counting the votes in the presence of the counting agents during the Fourth recount,
B) in the presence of the counting agents open each ballot box and count and record the number of ballot papers in it in the presence of the candidates or their agents during the Fourth recount,
C) in the presence of the candidate or the agents declare or announce an intention to recount the votes for the Fourth time and finally also carried out the recount in private without their knowledge or agreement,
means that in my legal opinion the election of Cllr Ebanks should stand. Therefore the so called ‘declared’ results of the final Fourth recount is unlawful and not binding in any way on Cllr.Ebanks.
Other potential serious flaws in the count will also be revealed in the event of a court case. The idea that the people of Kingstanding should be happy when their Councillor is chosen in secret for them by an employee of Birmingham Council rather than through the ballot box is a total denial of their democratic rights.
May I also point out the result of your own opinion poll " The Big Question " of Saturday 6th May where 84 % of those who rang the poll stated that the BNP should be allowed to take its seat. The manufactured media outrage against the BNP is rejected by the mass of the public at large. The fact that almost a quarter of voters across Birmingham voted for the BNP, but only one BNP councillor was elected, is the true political scandal of this election.
Lee John Barnes LLB ( Hons )
BNP Legal Affairs Unit.
The forum post in which this letter is cited continues:
Now as we all know, Lee Barnes isn’t a lawyer of any description, and is therefore unable to give legal advice or a legal opinion of his own. Not only is he unqualified to do so, but would never be able to obtain professional indemnity insurance, without which he is personally liable for the consequences of any bad purported legal advice he might ever give.
Now above I see that Barnes says in my legal opinion. That turn of phrase is usually used in a legal context to mean one has taken the view at least of junior counsel, to obtain which a solicitor would have been needed to have been instructed.
A search on the Law Society’s website shows that Barnes is not currently a practicing solicitor and has no business, therefore, in offering a legal opinion to anyone.
Ebanks’ claim that the BNP has charged her with being anti-Semitic is an interesting development, if true, not least in light of my own work earlier this year in exposing the anti-Semitic views of BNP member and newly-elected Sandwell Councillor, Simon Smith (aka ‘Steve Freedom’). If holding anti-Semitic views is reason for expulsion from Griffin’s carefully sanitised version of the BNP, then the material uncovered and posted on this blog earlier this year should means that Smith is a ‘goner’ for certain, so I await further local developments with interest – if they happen.
To make matters even more interesting BNP leader. Nick Griffin, and activist Mark Collett are due back in court this week (1st November) to face a retrial on charges of using words or behaviour intended to stir up racial hatred and using words or behaviour likely to stir up racial hatred; for which the BNP are currently running an appeal for funds, despite both Griffin and Collett receiving legal aid – the money is apparently to pay for the costs of additional ‘security’, as if such a case will not see the court and its surrounding environs crawling with Police anyway.
With the BNP in financial meltdown, open in-fighting over Ebanks’ expulsion and Griffin up before the beak this week, what else can one add but…
One thought on “Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch…”
Think I should point out that just because Mr. Barnes isn’t listed on the Law Society doesn’t mean he’s not qualified to give a legal opinion, he may be a Paralegal or some other non-solicitor type…