Colourful past of BNP’s London man
GAINING A seat on the London Assembly earlier this month has made Richard Barnbrook the British National Party’s highest-elected representative.
The former council opposition leader in Barking and Dagenham was elected through the far-right party’s 5.4 per cent vote in the London-wide poll. This was separate from the mayoral race, where Barnbrook trailed home a distant fifth.
There was outrage at the election of Barnbrook — who is almost always seen in his trademark brown suit and matching tie, which some have likened to Hitler’s clothing — with mainstream candidates walking off stage as he took the podium. But the 47-year-old, USeducated graduate is no stranger to controversy.
He has not made public pronouncements on Jews. According to veteran Searchlight anti-fascist Gerry Gable, Barnbrook “is very cautious with everything that he says and how he is quoted by the press. He has not said anything anti-Jewish [on the record].”
However, he has been more outspoken about other minorities, blaming the resurgence of TB on “immigration”, and referring to members of the Muslim community getting “an upper hand and high benefits such as free translation, help with business startup and housing”. He has also described Africans as “messier as people”.
When he first stood as a councillor two years ago, it was claimed he had rented a flat in the area with colleague Robert Bailey to be eligible to stand.
Both men were registered to the same address on their nomination papers, but it was claimed that the flat was a derelict maisonette and neighbours claimed neither lived there. As leader of the opposition on the council, he is said to have been at only 17 of the 28 meetings he should have attended.
One of five children, Barnbrook was born in Catford, South-East London, in 1961. He studied at the Royal College of Art and became a teacher.
The BNP’s stance on homosexuality is that it is a “perverted” practice, yet Mr Barnbrook produced the 1989 film, HMS Discovery: A Love Story, which featured young naked men flagellating each other and simulating gay sex.
When the English National Ballet’s principal ballerina Simone Clarke was revealed as a BNP member last year, it also emerged that the pair were engaged. If they marry, he will become stepfather to Ms Clarke’s four-year-old mixed-race daughter from her previ- ous relationship with a Cuban-Chinese dancer. Barnbrook has previously spoken out against mixed-race families. His brother has also had two long-term relationships with black women.
But this year, a nurse from Finland claimedMrBarnbrookhadbeenhaving a relationship with her and had asked her to marry him at the same time as he had proposed to Ms Clarke. Annika Tavilampi, 28, claimed they met on a dating website and that Barnbrook had inundated her with explicit texts.
Ms Tavilampi also claimed to have found a copy of Mein Kampf under his bed and said he kept his relationship with the ballerina secret from her.
It further emerged that, while he had allegedly proposed to both Ms Clarke andMsTavilampi,hewasstillmarriedto anAmericanwomanfromwhomhewas separated. The woman, a police officer, claimed their marriage broke down due to his “rotten politics”.
He claims to have dated Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton and her agent has confirmed the pair knew each other, albeit before Mr Barnbrook joined the BNP in 1999.
In Barking, he was ridiculed for presenting an alternative budget, calling for cuts of £3 million from the £6.5 million budget for human resources and £5.3 million from children’s services. Other councillors at the meeting claimed he could not explain how the cuts could be made. He blamed the blunders on “communication issues” between his accountant and his team.
Richard Barnbrook: the British National Party’s London Assembly man