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National Front (UK)

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Title: National Front (UK)  
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Subject: John Tyndall (politician), Aberdeen City Council election, 2012, Martin Wingfield, Richard Edmonds, British National Party
Collection: 1967 Establishments in the United Kingdom, Antisemitism in the United Kingdom, Anti-Zionism in the United Kingdom, British Nationalism, Discrimination in the United Kingdom, Eurosceptic Parties in the United Kingdom, Far-Right Political Parties in the United Kingdom, Far-Right Politics in the United Kingdom, Fascist Parties in the United Kingdom, Holocaust Denial in the United Kingdom, National Front (Uk), Nationalist Parties in the United Kingdom, Political Parties Established in 1967, Syncretic Political Movements
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National Front (UK)

National Front
Leader Kevin Bryan[1]
Deputy Leader David MacDonald
Founded 1967 (1967)
Headquarters Kingston upon Hull[1]
Ideology Ultranationalism
White supremacy
British Fascism[2][3]
Political position Far-right
International affiliation None
European affiliation None
European Parliament group No MEPs
Colours                Red, white, blue
House of Commons
0 / 650
House of Lords
0 / 781
European Parliament
0 / 73
Local government
0 / 21,871
Politics of the United Kingdom
Political parties

The National Front (NF) is a British far-right political party for whites only,[5] opposed to non-white immigration, and committed to a programme of repatriation. While denying accusations of fascism, it has cultivated links with neo-Nazi cells at home and abroad, and the British police and prison services forbid their employees to be members of the party.[6]

The NF was founded in 1967. By 1976, it had up to 14,000 paying members, and won nearly 20% of that year's local election votes in Leicester. In the 1979 general election, the NF fielded 303 candidates, polling 191,719 votes. In 2010, it put up 17 candidates for the general election and 18 candidates for the local elections, but none were elected.

The party has never won a seat in Parliament, and its few council seats have only been obtained through defection and appointment.


  • Policies 1
    • Immigration 1.1
    • Environment 1.2
    • Crime 1.3
    • Sex 1.4
    • Abortion 1.5
    • Democracy 1.6
  • History 2
    • Late 1960s: formation 2.1
    • Early 1970s: growth 2.2
    • Mid 1970s: height of party and success 2.3
    • Late 1970s: riots, in-fighting and decline 2.4
    • 1980s: two National Fronts 2.5
    • 1990s and beyond 2.6
  • Electoral performance 3
    • Summary of general election performance 3.1
    • Local elections (1967–2012) 3.2
      • Councillors 3.2.1
      • Mayoral 3.2.2
    • London Assembly 3.3
    • General elections (1970–2010) 3.4
    • Scottish Parliament 3.5
  • See also 4
  • Footnotes 5
  • Bibliography 6
  • External Links 7


The National Front has been described as fascist[3][7][8] and neo-fascist[4] in its policies. In his book, The New Fascists, Wilkinson, comparing the NF to the Italian Social Movement (MSI), comments on its neo-fascist nature and neo-Nazi ideals:

"The only other case among the western democracies of a neo-fascist movement making some progress towards creating an effective mass party with at least a chance of winning some leverage, is the National Front (NF) in Britain. It is interesting that the NF, like the MSI, has tried to develop a 'two-track' strategy. On the one hand it follows an opportunistic policy of attempting to present itself as a respectable political party appealing by argument and peaceful persuasion for the support of the British electorate. On the other, its leadership is deeply imbued with Nazi ideas, and though they try to play down their past affiliations with more blatantly Nazi movements, such as Colin Jordan's National Socialist Movement, they covertly maintain intimate connections with small neo-Nazi cells in Britain and abroad, because all their beliefs and motives make this not only tactically expedient but effective."[4]

The party also stands for "white family values", including the white supremacist slogan (known as the Fourteen Words), which stipulates, "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."[5]


The cornerstone of the National Front's manifesto since 1974 has been the compulsory repatriation of all non-white immigrants:

"The National Front advocates a total ban on any further non-White immigration into Britain, and the launching of a phased plan of repatriation for all coloured immigrants."[9]

In the past, the National Front did not oppose white immigration into Britain.[10] [10] The National Front's manifesto has also called for white emigrants to the Commonwealth countries to return to Britain, claiming: "These immigrants should be given completely free entry into Britain and full rights of British citizenship".[12] The National Front in its political manifestos published in 1997 and 2001 reiterated its pledge to repatriate "all coloured immigrants and their offspring". The party's policy as of 2012 on immigration remains unchanged in regards to its compulsory repatriation policy for non-whites:

"The National Front would halt all non-white immigration into Britain and introduce a policy of phased and humane repatriation."[13]

The party, however, now opposes further white immigration into Britain, excluding some cases:

"In regards to white immigration, this would only be allowed where there are particular reasons such as the possession of particular skills or in the case of political refugees."[13]

Unlike non-white immigrants, the National Front has no policy to repatriate white immigrants already settled in Britain. While supporting withdrawal from the European Union, the National Front wants to create greater cultural links between Europe, what it calls the "White nations". The party claims to stand for "white family values" and the "Fourteen Words", a white nationalist slogan that states: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children." The party works in open cooperation with the white supremacist and neo-Nazi website Stormfront.[14][15]

In recent years the party has been in conflict with the British National Party over such issues as the BNP's attempts to present a more moderate image, such as shifting its policy from compulsory to voluntary repatriation and opening its membership to non-whites. The NF's former national chairman, Tom Holmes, condemned the BNP as no longer being a white nationalist party for having a Sikh columnist in its party newspaper.[16]


According to its 2010 general election manifesto, the National Front's policy on environmental issues includes enacting legislation to protect and expand existing green areas, particularly in urban areas. It also calls for a higher investment in the UK's rail network and want stricter controls on pesticides.[17]


The party supports the use of capital punishment for crimes which they regard as "extreme violence" such as aggravated rape, murder and terrorism.[18]


The party believes that the current age of consent at 16 in Britain is too young and would raise it to 18. They would also make sure that any child under the age of 16 could not legally give consent (as opposed to 13 in Britain today), and want this put in place throughout the United Kingdom.[19] The party has also supported the reintroduction of Section 28, and supports the recriminalisation of homosexuality.[20]


The party adopts a strongly anti-abortion stance, describing abortion as a "crime against humanity" and would repeal the 1967 Abortion Act.[21]


Its constitution expresses the fact that it is led by a National Directorate rather than a chairman, and that the National Front is a party of democracy and freedom of speech. Section 2 says: "The National Front consists of a confederation of branches co-ordinated by a National Directorate. Additionally a Central Tribunal appointed by the National Directorate is responsible for acting as a final court of appeal in internal disciplinary matters and for acting as a disciplinary tribunal for cases brought directly against individual party members by the National Directorate."[22] It claims that its skinhead image is a thing of the past, that the party is critical of the historical accuracy of the Holocaust, and is inclined towards historical revisionism, but claims that it has no official view about it and defends the right of free speech for any historian of the subject.[23]


Late 1960s: formation

A move towards unity on the far right had been growing during the 1960s as groups worked more closely together. Impetus was provided by the 1966 general election when a moderate Conservative Party was defeated and A. K. Chesterton, a cousin of the novelist G. K. Chesterton and leader of the League of Empire Loyalists (LEL), argued that a patriotic and racialist right wing party would have won the election.[24] Acting on a suggestion by John Tyndall, Chesterton opened talks with the 1960s incarnation of the British National Party (who had already been discussing a possible deal with the new National Democratic Party) and agreed a merger with them, with the BNP's Philip Maxwell addressing the LEL conference in October 1966.[25] A portion of the Racial Preservation Society led by Robin Beauclair also agreed to participate (although the remainder threw in their lot with the NDP, its house political party under David Brown) and so the NF was founded on 7 February 1967.[26]

Its purpose was to oppose immigration and neo-Nazi groups being allowed to join the party, but members of John Tyndall's neo-fascist Greater Britain Movement were allowed to join on an individual basis.[27]

Early 1970s: growth

The National Front grew during the 1970s and had between 16,000 and 20,000 members by 1974, and 50 local branches.[28] Its electoral base largely consisted of blue-collar workers and the self-employed who resented immigrant competition in the labour market and for scarce housing. Some recruits came from the Monday Club within the Conservative Party that had been founded in reaction to Harold Macmillan's "Wind of Change" speech. The NF fought on a platform of opposition to communism and liberalism, support for Ulster loyalism, opposition to the European Economic Community, and the compulsory repatriation of new Commonwealth immigrants who had entered Britain under the British Nationality Act, 1948.[29][30] In May 1973, in a by-election in West Bromwich West, the National Front candidate, the party's National Activities Organizer, Martin Webster, polled 4,789 votes (16.2%), a result which shook the political and media Establishment.

National Front march in Yorkshire, 1970s.

A common sight in England in the 1970s, the NF was well known for its street demonstrations, particularly in London, where it often faced anti-racist groups such as Searchlight. The NF was led at first by Chesterton, who left under a cloud after half of the directorate (led by the NF's major financer, Gordon Marshall) moved a vote of no confidence in him. He was replaced in 1970 by the party's office manager John O'Brien, a former Conservative and supporter of Enoch Powell. O'Brien, however, left when he realised the NF's leadership functions were being systematically taken over by the former Greater Britain Movement members, in order to ensure the party was really being run by John Tyndall and his deputy Martin Webster.[31] O'Brien and the NF's treasurer Clare McDonald led a small group of supporters into John Davis' National Independence Party, and the leadership of the National Front passed to Tyndall and Webster.

Mid 1970s: height of party and success

Between 1973 and 1976 the National Front performed better in local elections, as well as in several parliamentary by-elections, than in general elections. No parliamentary candidates ever won a seat, but the party saved its deposit on one occasion.[32][33]

The NF sought to expand its influence into the 'white dominions' of the Commonwealth.[34] In 1977, overseas organisations were set up in New Zealand (the New Zealand National Front), South Africa (the South African National Front[35]) and in Australia (the National Front Australia ).

A Canadian organisation was also set up (National Front of Canada) but it failed to take off.[36]

Already by 1974, the ITV documentary This Week exposed the neo-Nazi pasts (and continued links with Nazis from other countries) of Tyndall and Webster. This resulted in a stormy annual conference two weeks later, where Tyndall was booed with chants of "Nazi! Nazi!" when he tried to make his speech. This led to the leadership being passed to the populist John Kingsley Read. A stand-off between Read and his supporters (such as Roy Painter and Denis Pirie) and Tyndall and Webster followed, leading to a temporary stand-still in NF growth. Before long Read and his supporters seceded and Tyndall returned as leader. Read formed the short-lived National Party, which won two council seats in Blackburn in 1976.[37]

A National Front march through central London on 15 June 1974 led to a 21-year-old man,

  • National Front website
  • 2005 Manifesto
  • 2010 Manifesto
  • BBC 1975: National Front rallies against Europe
  • 1975 video

External Links

  • Billig, M. (1978). Fascists: A social psychological view of the National Front. London: Academic Press. Very much an 'academic' book on the NF, with statistical as much as political/sociological analysis.
  • Walker, Martin (1977) The National Front (also expanded edition 1978) Fontana/Collins. This was written by a Guardian journalist of the period who interviewed many of the key players within the NF circa 1967–1977: e.g. Rosine de Bounevialle, Rodney Legg, John O'Brien, Roy Painter, John Kingsley Read, John Tyndall and Martin Webster, as well as the widow of Arthur K. Chesterton.
  • L. Cheles, R. Ferguson, and M. Vaughan, Neo-Fascism in Europe, London: Longman, 1992
  • N. Copsey, Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004


  1. ^ a b "Regulated entity profile: National Front". The Electoral Commission. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.  Registration reference:PP 2707
  2. ^ Richard Thurlow. Fascism in Britain: From Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts to the National Front. 
  3. ^ a b Bowyer, Benjamin (December 2008). "Local context and extreme right support in England: The British National Party in the 2002 and 2003 local elections". Electoral Studies 27 (4). 
  4. ^ a b c Paul Wilkinson, The New Fascists, Pan Books Ltd, London 1983, p 73. ISBN 0-330-26953-4
  5. ^ a b "Scottish election: National Front profile". BBC. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "Circular NPIA 02/2011" (PDF). National Policing Improvement Agency. 1 March 2011. p. 20. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
    "Pre-Appointment Security Vetting". Ministry of Justice/National Offender Management Service. 1 September 2010. p. 16. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  7. ^ Richard Thurlow. Fascism in Britain:From Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts to the National Front. 
  8. ^ James Lyons. "The truth about fascist National Front past of Britain's two new BNP members in Europe". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  9. ^ National Front, For a New Britain: The Manifesto of the National Front, London, 1974, pp. 17-19.
  10. ^ a b Nigel Fielding, The National Front. (1981). Routledge, p. 97.
  11. ^ John Tyndall, The Eleventh Hour: A Call for British Rebirth, 1988, p.416
  12. ^ Billig, M. (1978). Fascists: A social psychological view of the National Front. London: Academic Press.
  13. ^ a b "National Front Policy". National Front. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  14. ^ Schwab Abel, David (19–25 February 1998). "The Racist Next Door".  
  15. ^ Kim, T.K. (Summer 2005). "Electronic Storm – Stormfront Grows a Thriving Neo-Nazi Community". Intelligence Report (Southern Poverty Law Center) (118). Retrieved 30 December 2008. 
  16. ^ "Sikh joins BNP, another recalls his wartime battle to defeat fascists". Sikhs Online. 26 March 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  17. ^ "NF Policies: Environment". National Front. Archived from the original on 10 January 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "NF Policies: Sex - Age of Consent". National Front. Archived from the original on 10 January 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  20. ^ Roberts, Scott (26 December 2014). "UKIP local Chairman: "I obviously regret" joining the National Front".  
  21. ^ "NF Policies: Abortion". National Front. Archived from the original on 10 January 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  22. ^ "15: 15". Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  23. ^ National Front (2010). "QUO VADIS? Tom Linden, NF National Press Officer interviews NF Founder Member, Eddy Morrison". Accessed 17 July 2014
  24. ^ M. Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana Collins, 1977, p. 58
  25. ^ Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana Collins, 1977, p. 65
  26. ^ S. Taylor, The National Front in English Politics, London: Macmillan, 1982, pp. 18–19
  27. ^ Taylor, The National Front in English Politics, London: Macmillan, 1982, p. 19
  28. ^ a b The National Front, Nigel Fielding, Taylor & Francis, 1981, p.38.
  29. ^ Fielding, pp. 46–50.
  30. ^ Whitewash: racialized politics and the media,John Gabriel, Routledge, 1998, p. 158.
  31. ^ Taylor, The National Front in English Politics, London: Macmillan, 1982, pp. 22–23
  32. ^ Whitewash: racialized politics and the media, John Gabriel, Routledge, 1998, pp.157–159
  33. ^ The radical right in Western Europe: a comparative analysis, Herbert Kitschelt, University of Michigan Press, 1997, p. 251.
  34. ^ NF Policy Committee Britain: World Power Or Pauper State 1974
  35. ^ see Hill, Ray and Bell, Andrew The Other Face of Terror Grafton (1988)
  36. ^ Ó Maoláin, Ciarán The Radical Right: A World Directory Longman (1987) p.47
  37. ^ M. Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana, 1977, pp. 187–90
  38. ^ "1974: Man dies in race rally clashes". BBC News. 15 June 1974. 
  39. ^ "1975: National Front rallies against Europe". BBC News. 25 March 1975. 
  40. ^ "Fascism in Leicester (November/December 1976)". 3 February 2008. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  41. ^ a b National Front: "NF History". Archive. Accessed 17 July 2014
  42. ^ Martin Webster, "Mossad’s One Million Helpers World-Wide", Occidental Observer, 26 March 2010. Archive accessed 17 July 2014.
    "Martin Webster of the NF Marching Alone Through Hyde, 1977". YouTube. 12 June 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
    "Anti-fascism in Manchester, Liverpool and elsewhere in the North West". Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  43. ^ Paranoia within reason: a casebook on conspiracy as explanation, George E. Marcus, University of Chicago Press, 1999, p. 341.
  44. ^ Social Trends, Issues 10–11, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1980, p.277.
  45. ^ "Lewisham ’77: success or failure?". Institute of Race Relations. 9 October 2007. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  46. ^ "TV Interview for Granada World in Action ("rather swamped")". Margaret Thatcher Foundation. 30 January 1978. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  47. ^ Fascism in Britain: from Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts to the National Front, Richard C. Thurlow, Tauris, 1998 p. 276.
  48. ^ Taylor, The National Front in English Politics, London: Macmillan, 1982.
  49. ^ a b Martin Durham, Women and fascism, Routledge, 1998, p. 99.
  50. ^ John Gabriel, Whitewash: racialized politics and the media, Routledge, 1998.
  51. ^ Political Soldier. "The Ebanks File". Retrieved 10 August 2009. 
  52. ^ Michael Billig, Ideology and opinions: studies in rhetorical psychology, SAGE, 1991, p.114.
  53. ^ The enemy of my enemy: the alarming convergence of militant Islam and the extreme right, George Michael, University Press of Kansas, 2006
  54. ^ "Programmes | Under the skin of the BNP". BBC News. Retrieved 10 August 2009. 
  55. ^ Schneider, Bill. "Fresh Thinking". Third Way. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  56. ^ .National Front website, "UNOFFICIAL MEMBERS BULLETIN A FAKE", 17 March 2010 (archive). Accessed 17 July 2014.
  57. ^ Stowell, Sean (19 February 2010). "'"Far Right: BNP 'losing members. BBC News. Retrieved 27 April 2010. 
  58. ^ "Coleraine's NF leader "thanks" MLA". Coleraine Times. 16 September 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 
  59. ^ Electoral Commission:Registration summary, ref PP2707 26 March 2015. Accessed 7 May 2015
  60. ^ Paul Whiteley, 'The National Front Vote in the 1977 GLC Elections: An Aggregate Data. Analysis', British Journal of Political Science, IX (I979), 370-80.
  61. ^ Kitschelt, pp. 250–256
  62. ^ Kitschelt, p. 251
  63. ^ The Longman companion to Britain since 1945,Chris Cook, John Stevenson, Pearson Education, 2000, p.91
  64. ^ Kitschelt, pp. 251
  65. ^ Brown, Jonathan, "National Front aims to revive 70s 'glory days'", The Independent, 23 April 2012
  66. ^ "Local election candidates announced", Thurrock Gazette, 4 April 2012
  67. ^ Walker. Martin. The National Front. (1977). Fontana. p. 122.
  68. ^ "Decision day for BNP parish councillor". UK: Hope not hate. Archived from the original on 12 February 2009. Retrieved 10 August 2009. 
  69. ^ Councillors - John Gamble, Rotherham Borough COuncil 
  70. ^ Sam Clayton, National front 
  71. ^ Bilton in Ainsty with Bickerton parish council 
  72. ^ Elections, National front, May 2011 
  73. ^ "National Front man loses council seat", Derby Telegraph, 1 September 2011 
  74. ^ "National Front given best slot in Liverpool council’s elected mayor leaflet", The Liverpool echo, 6 April 2012 
  75. ^ "Election 2010 – Rochdale". BBC News. 
  76. ^ "Election 2011". Scottish Television. Retrieved 8 June 2014. 


See also

The National Front stood for the first time ever in the Scottish Parliament general election, 2011, fielding six candidates – one for the North East region and five for the constituencies.[76] It gained 1,515 votes (0.08%) for the constituencies nationwide and 640 votes (0.2%) for the North East region. It failed to win any seats or save any deposits.

Scottish Parliament

Since 1992, the National Front has never fielded more than nineteen candidates in a British general election (as few as five in 2001). None has saved their deposit, with their average percentage share of the vote being around 1%. However, in Rochdale during the 2010 general election, the NF candidate, Chris Jackson, polled 4.9% (2,236 votes), coming within a whisker of saving his deposit.[75]

In the 1979 general election the National Front fielded a record 303 candidates, polling 191,719 votes but saving no deposits. This plunged the party into financial difficulties. This is considered to be a major factor in the decline of the NF. The National Front fielded 60 candidates in the 1983 general election and received 27,065 votes. It saved no deposits, the average vote being less than 1% in each contested constituency. In 1987, the NF was split and only stood one candidate, in Bristol East, polling 286 votes (0.6%).

The National Front has contested general elections since 1970. The NF's most significant success in a parliamentary by-election was in the 1973 West Bromwich by-election: the NF candidate finished third with 16%, and saved his deposit for the only time in NF by-election history. This result was largely due to the candidate Martin Webster's own adopted 'chummy' persona for the campaign as "Big Mart".

General elections (1970–2010)

In the 2012 London Assembly election held on 3 May, the National Front stood three candidates in two of the same constituencies in which it stood before – Greenwich and Lewisham and Ealing and Hillingdon – and Havering and Redbridge. The National Front lost all deposits and received large drops in the votes. At the same time, the National Front stood on the London list in which it came twelfth out of thirteen parties with 8,006 votes (0.4%).

In the 2008 London Assembly election held on 1 May, the National Front stood five candidates, saving two deposits – Paul Winnett polled 11,288 votes (5.56% of those cast) in the Bexley and Bromley constituency. In the Greenwich and Lewisham constituency, Tess Culnane polled 8,509 votes (5.79% of those cast) coming ahead of the UK Independence Party.

London Assembly

In 2012, the National Front put forward Peter Tierney, a former BNP organiser, as a candidate to be the first elected mayor of Liverpool.[74] Tierney came last out of twelve candidates with 556 votes (0.57%).


In March 2010, the NF gained its first ever councillor in Rotherham by defection: John Gamble, who was originally in the BNP and then the England First Party (EFP).[69] However, not long afterwards he was expelled. Later the same year, a parish councillor from Harrogate, Sam Clayton, defected from the BNP to the NF.[70] However, on 29 November 2010, it was revealed that Clayton had resigned as parish councillor for Bilton in Ainsty with Bickerton ward.[71] As of mid-2011 the National Front had one parish councillor, who represented Langley Hill Ward on Langley Parish Council.[72] However, in September 2011 it lost its councillor after the party failed to complete the necessary paper work.[73]

The National Front has never won a contested council seat in any election. However, in October 1969, two Conservative councillors, Athlene O' Connell and Peter Mitchell, defected to the National Front on Wandsworth London Borough Council,[67] but they left only two months later, rejoining the Conservative Party. On 3 May 2007, a National Front candidate Simon Deacon was elected unopposed to Markyate Parish council, near St Albans (there were ten vacancies but only nine candidates). However, Deacon soon defected to the British National Party, after becoming disillusioned with the direction of the NF.[68]


An article printed in The Independent on 23 April 2012 reported that the National Front intended to field 35 candidates in local elections – the highest number for 30 years – aiming to revive the 1970s 'glory days'.[65] Among the NF candidates for the 2012 local elections was Derek Beackon in Thurrock with Mick Griffin of Tilbury Essex receiving the party's best result.[66]

During the 1980s and early 1990s the National Front only fielded a handful of candidates in local elections, but it has increased this to 35 for the 2012 local elections.[41]

The National Front has contested local elections since the late 1960s, but only did particularly well in them from 1973, polling as high as 15%.[60] It never won a seat, however.[61] In the 1976 local elections the NF notably polled 27.5% of the vote in Sandwell, West Midlands, as well as over 10,000 votes in some councils.[62][63] The May 1976 local election results were the most impressive for the National Front, with the jewel in the crown being Leicester, where 48 candidates won 14,566 votes, nearly 20% of the total. However, after 1977 the NF vote-share ceased growing and by 1979 had begun to decline.[64]

Local elections (1967–2012)

Year Number of Candidates Total votes Average voters per candidate Percentage of vote Saved deposits Change (percentage points) Number of MPs
1970 10 11,449 1,145 0.04 0 N/A 0
Feb 1974 54 76,865 1,423 0.2 0 +0.16 0
Oct 1974 90 113,843 1,265 0.4 0 +0.2 0
1979 303 191,719 633 0.6 0 +0.2 0
1983 60 27,065 451 0.1 0 −0.5 0
1987 1 286 286 0.0 0 −0.1 0
1992 14 4,816 344 0.1 0 +0.1 0
1997 6 2,716 452 0.0 0 −0.1 0
2001 5 2,484 497 0.0 0 0.0 0
2005 13 8,029 617 0.0 0 0.0 0
2010 17 10,784 634 0.0 0 0.0 0
2015 7 1,114 159 0.0 0 0.0 0

Summary of general election performance

Electoral performance

The National Front is now led by Kevin Bryan of Bacup, Lancashire. His position as leader was registered with the Electoral Commission in March 2015.[59]

[58] On 14 September 2010, the NF publicity officer, Tom Linden, shared a debate with the

In February 2010, when the BNP had to change its constitution to allow non-whites into the party because of a High Court decision, the NF claimed to have received over 1,000 membership enquiries from BNP members and said that local BNP branches in Yorkshire and north Lincolnshire had discussed switching over to them.[57] Prominent BNP dissidents Chris Jackson and Michael Easter joined the NF in the latter half of 2009 while, more recently, the veteran nationalists Richard Edmonds and Tess Culnane have both rejoined the party.

There has been a re-positioning of the NF's policy on marches and demonstrations since the expulsion from the party in 2007 of Terry Blackham, the former National Activities Organiser. These have been reduced in favour of electoral campaigning. In January 2010, Tom Holmes resigned the leadership and handed over to Ian Edward.[56]

In the 1990s, the NF declined as the BNP began to grow. As a result of this, Ian Anderson decided to change the party name and in 1995 re-launched it as the National Democrats. The move proved unpopular. Over half of the members continued with the NF under the reluctant leadership of previous deputy leader John McAuley. He later passed the job on to Tom Holmes. The National Democrats continued to publish the old NF newspaper, The Flag, for a while. The NF launched a new paper, The Flame, which is still published irregularly.

1990s and beyond

An estimate of membership of the National Front in 1989 put adherents of the Flag Group at about 3,000 and of the 'Political Soldier' faction at about 600, with a number in between embracing Griffin's Third Position ideas.[49] Griffin's own estimate, as stated in a TV documentary first broadcast in 1999, was that in 1990 his International Third Position had fifty to sixty supporters, while Harrington's Third Way had about a dozen.

Around this time, the 'official' NF lost much of its traditional English support as a result of its support for black radicals such as umbrella group Blood and Honour. Griffin and Holland tried to enlist the financial aid of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, but the idea was rejected once the Libyans found out about the NF's reputation as fascist (a quarter of Libya's adult male population was killed by Benito Mussolini's troops during World War II).[53] However, the NF received 5,000 copies of Gaddafi's Green Book, which influenced Andrews to leave the NF to form the Isleworth Community Group, the first of several grass roots groups in English local elections, whereby nominally independent candidates stood under a collective flag of convenience to appear more attractive to voters.[54][55]

The opposition NF Flag Group contained the traditionalists such as Andrew Brons, Ian Anderson, Martin Wingfield, Tina Wingfield, Joe Pearce (initially associated with the Political Soldiers' faction) and Steve Brady, who ran candidates under the NF banner in the 1987 general election. The Flag Group did some ideological work of its own, and the ideas of social credit and distributism were popular, but the chief preoccupation was still race relations.[50] Some hoped that having two parties within one might help to save the NF from oblivion after 1979. The phrase "Let a thousand initiatives bloom" was coined (meaning that internal diversity should be tolerated) in the hope of re-capturing support, but clashes occurred nevertheless. In the 1989 Vauxhall by-election, Harrington stood as the Official National Front candidate against Ted Budden for the Flag NF, both sides cat-calling at one another during the declaration of the result. By 1990, the Political Soldiers had fallen out with one another, splintering into Griffin's International Third Position (ITP) and Harrington's Third Way, leaving the Flag Group under Anderson and Wingfield to continue alone. Griffin's pamphlet "Attempted Murder"[51] gives a very colourful – if biased and somewhat bitter – overview of this period of the NF's history.

The party effectively split into two halves during the 1980s, after it had expelled Martin Webster. On one side were the Political Soldier ideas of young radicals such as Nick Griffin, Patrick Harrington, Phil Andrews and Derek Holland, who were known as the Official National Front. They had little interest in contesting elections, preferring a 'revolutionary' strategy.[49]

The party rapidly declined during the 1980s, although it retained some support in the West Midlands and in parts of London (usually centred around Terry Blackham).[48]

1980s: two National Fronts

Tyndall's leadership was challenged by Andrew Fountaine after the 1979 debacle. Although Tyndall saw off the challenge, Fountaine and his followers split from the party to form the NF Constitutional Movement. The influential Leicester branch of the NF also split around this time, leading to the formation of the short lived British Democratic Party. In the face of these splits, the party's Directorate voted to oust Tyndall as Chairman after he had demanded even more powers. He was replaced by Andrew Brons: but the 'power behind the throne' was Martin Webster who, somewhat surprisingly, had supported his old ally's deposition. After failing to win title to the National Front name in the courts, Tyndall formed the British National Party.

[47] Most damning of all, a full set of minutes of National Front Directorate meetings from late 1979 to the 1986 "Third Way" versus "Flag Group" split, deposited by former NF leader

National Front deputy leader Martin Webster claimed two decades later that the activities of the Anti-Nazi League played a key part in the NF's collapse at the end of the 1970s. The NF stood its largest number of parliamentary candidates at the 1979 general election only a few months later, and met with far less opposition than in previous elections.

Also, Tyndall insisted on using party funds to nominate extra candidates so that the NF would be standing in 303 seats to give the impression of growing strength. However, it brought the party to the verge of bankruptcy when all of the deposits were lost. Most candidates were candidates in name only, and did no electioneering.

"... we do not talk about it [immigration] perhaps as much as we should. In my view, that is one thing that is driving some people to the National Front. They do not agree with the objectives of the National Front, but they say that at least they are talking about some of the problems.... If we do not want people to go to extremes... we must show that we are prepared to deal with it. We are a British nation with British characteristics."[46]

At the same time, Margaret Thatcher as opposition leader was moving the Tory party back to the right and away from the moderate Heathite stance which had caused some Conservatives to join the NF. Many ex-Tories returned to the fold from the NF or its myriad splinter groups, in particular after her "swamping" remarks on the ITV documentary series World In Action on 30 January 1978:

If anything epitomised the NF under Tyndall and Webster it was the events of August 1977, when a large NF march went through the largely non-white area of Lewisham in South East London under an inflammatory slogan claiming that 85% of muggers were black whilst 85% of their victims were white.[43] As the NF was then contesting the Birmingham Ladywood by-election, such a large march elsewhere was construed by some as an attempt to provoke trouble. 270 policemen were injured (56 hospitalised) and over 200 marchers were injured (78 hospitalised), while an attempt was made by rioters to destroy the local police station.[44] At this march, riot shields were used for the first time in the UK outside Northern Ireland. The event is often referred to by 'anti-fascists' as the Battle of Lewisham. In fact, many of those who took part in the riot that day were not members of any 'anti-fascist' or 'anti-racist' group, but local youths (both black and white).[45]

Late 1970s: riots, in-fighting and decline

A police ban on an NF march through Hyde in October 1977 was defied by Martin Webster, who separately marched alone carrying a Union Jack and a sign reading "Defend British Free Speech from Red Terrorism", surrounded by an estimated 2,500 police and onlookers. He was allowed to march, as 'one man' did not constitute a breaking of the ban. The tactic attracted media publicity for the Front.[42]

During 1976 the movement's fortunes improved, and the NF had up to 14,000 paid members.[28] A campaign was launched in support of Robert Relf, who had been jailed for refusing to remove a sign from outside his home declaring that it was for sale only to English buyers. In the May local election the NF's best result was in Leicester, where 48 candidates won 14,566 votes, nearly 20% of the total vote.[40] By June, the party's growth rate was its highest ever. In the May 1977 Greater London Council election, 119,060 votes were cast in favour of the NF and the Liberals were beaten in 33 out of 92 constituencies.[41]

The National Front was also opposed to British membership of the European Economic Community, which began on 1 January 1973. On 25 March 1975, some 400 NF supporters demonstrated across London in protest against EEC membership, mostly in the Islington area of the capital.[39]


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