30/03/2014 09:52 BST | Updated 31/03/2014 07:59 BST

British National Party Leader Nick Griffin Prevented War In Syria, Spokesman Suggests

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Andrew Neil at the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Awards, at Claridges, in central London.

During one of the more surprising episodes of the Sunday Politics show, a BNP spokesperson suggested that their beloved leader prevented a war in Syria.

Simon Darby made the claim as he clashed with the BBC's Andrew Neil over the near extinction of support for the far-right party and Mr Griffin's appearance with Greek neo-Nazis Golden Dawn.

British National Party leader Nick Griffin "literally prevented a war in Syria", he said.

He asked for an apology from the BBC for "trying to put him (Mr Griffin) in prison twice merely for exposing the Muslim grooming scandal" but Mr Neil then asked why the BNP leader would not give an interview on the issue.

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Mr Griffin was caught up in controversy after he posted a tweet apparently revealing the judgments of a jury in the trial of a Rochdale child sex ring before they had been heard in court, almost causing the case to collapse.

Asked why Mr Griffin would not give an interview on the subject, Mr Darby said: "Mr Griffin was in Syria. Nick was in Syria preventing a war, literally. He flew out to Damascus and prevented a war. He was instrumental in putting that letter across to the UK Parliament before that vote when we decided we wouldn't quite rightly interfere in Syria.

"The BBC never covered that so please don't pretend that we're just an ordinary political party that you cover like everyone else."

Mr Darby also claimed the BNP had lost all its council seats in Barking to Labour and was thrashed by the party in the 2010 general election because local MP Margaret Hodge "replaced the white indigenous population" of the constituency "with Africans".

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Ms Hodge has been Labour MP for Barking since 1994 and won the 2010 poll with 24,628 votes and a 54.31% vote share.

Mr Darby said: "You mention Barking, it's very interesting Barking because I was involved with the Barking campaign.

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"What Labour did and what you should be focusing on, what Margaret Hodge and what her Labour Party did was they replaced the white indigenous population in Barking and Dagenham with Africans, that's how they won that election, that's a scandal."

Ms Hodge dismissed Mr Darby's comments about Barking as "racist claptrap" and said the BNP is a "spent force".

She said: "It is racist claptrap.

"The reason that we won the election and the reason that the BNP is a spent force is that we have brought the white working class back to supporting Labour through the work that I have done and through the work our councillors are doing and the Labour Party is doing.

"That was true in 2010 and it is true in 2014.

"(His claims) are just wrong."