The BNP's national elections officer has condemned a challenge to Nick Griffin's leadership of the party as 'an abuse' of the BNP constitution and ordered members not to sign nominations.
The extraordinary email was sent by Eddy Butler after BNP councillor Colin Auty announced that he would stand for the leadership.
In the email obtained by the Lancaster Unite Against Fascism group, Butler acknowledges that members have a right to challenge the leadership, but then says:
"It is an important Right – it is a declaration of our Parties openness and commitment to democracy. However with Rights come responsibilities and duties. A Right without a duty is an abomination in any society. It is a recipe for chaos. Indeed in our modern society it is the incessant claiming of Rights by groups that shown no sense of duty or responsibility that is one of the key components of the undermining of the civic order of our country."
Just in case this had not crushed the candidate's chances enough, the BNP's national election officer then goes on to say that any resulting election "should be carried out in the most rapid manner possible with zero publicity allowed for the joke candidate."
Now a rapid campaign with zero publicity and orders that members should not sign nomination papers does not sound like the BNP are particularly keen on their member's democratic rights. Nor does it sound like their election officer can be particularly trusted to independently administer those elections.
The challenge by Auty is thought to be related to a more serious challenge last year when some thought that the party may very well fracture into two competing entities. That risk was narrowly avoided after Griffins black ops department ordered expulsions, bugging operations and even the raiding of a members home.
It was hoped that the recent local elections would shore up Griffin's position. However, their gain of an assembly seat in London masked a relatively poor showing elsewhere. Party members had been expecting much bigger breakthroughs.
It has also been suggested that the new high profile of BNP assembly member Richard Barnbrook has further diminished Griffin's status in the party and made way for this challenge to the leadership.
However, given the words of Eddy Butler, it seems unlikely that Nick Griffin will ever submit himself to a fair fight. No matter how much of a 'joke' he considers his opponents.