This is not an April Fools' joke. Nick Griffin has sparked outrage after saying that the British National Party's mobile “food banks” are for “indigenous Brits only.”
The leader of the right-wing party faced accusations of racism Tuesday after taking to Twitter to clarify who can and cannot use the donations.
PS for the avoidance of doubt, our BNP food banks are for indigenous Brits only. 'Minorities' all have their own (taxpayer-funded) charities— Nick Griffin MEP (@nickgriffinmep) March 31, 2014
Griffin also slammed a prominent anti-fascist campaigner who criticised the BNP scheme – calling him an “orc”.
Weyman Bennett, the general secretary of Unite Against Fascism, had said the offers of free food were reminiscent of “Hitler’s soup kitchens,” in an interview with The Independent.
Bennett, also compared the "exploitive" move to tactics used by Greece's Golden Dawn – a fascist party who the BNP have gleefully said "strengthen the unemployed, the sick, the poor."
Urging the Electoral Commission to investigate the legality of the scheme, he said: “I think they [the BNP] are repeating those methods with this period of austerity. There is a danger with austerity that people get exploited and used.”
The Electoral Commission’s summary of election offences includes:
“A person is guilty of treating if either before, during or after an election they directly or indirectly give or provide any food, drink, entertainment or provision to corruptly influence any voter to vote or refrain from voting. Treating requires a corrupt intent – it does not apply to ordinary hospitality.”
Reacting to Griffin's "Orc" comment, Bennett, who is black, said the insult was used by far-right groups in the same way as the Nazis used the word “untermensch”, meaning under-man or sub-human.
“It’s a racial thing. I’m not surprised he uses racist terminology towards anybody who disagrees with him,” he said.
Pressure is mounting on Downing Street to launch an urgent investigation into the soaring numbers of people turning to emergency food banks, as a charity warned use had tripled in a year.
In an embarrassing turn for the coalition government, it was revealed that higher numbers of people in the UK are turning to emergency food banks.
More than 350,000 people received three days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks between April and September 2013, triple the numbers helped in the same period last year.