LONDON (Reuters) - The equality watchdog issued court proceedings against the far-right British National Party on Monday over constitution and membership rules it believes break race relations laws.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said it had issued the proceedings against BNP leader Nick Griffin and two other party officials.
It was seeking an injunction against the party at a hearing set for September 2.
“The BNP’s membership criteria appear to restrict membership to those within what the BNP regards as particular ‘ethnic groups’ and those whose skin colour is white,” the EHRC said.
“This exclusion is contrary to the Race Relations Act.”
The action follows a letter sent to the BNP by the watchdog in June which demanded the party alter its constitution and membership rules.
It said the party had responded by saying it intended to clarify the word ‘white’ on its website.
But the watchdog said it believed the BNP would continue to discriminate against potential or actual members on racial grounds.
The party, which campaigns to restrict “non-white” immigration to Britain, has no elected representatives in the House of Commons but succeeded in winning two seats to the European Parliament in elections in June.
Reporting by Tim Castle; Editing by Steve Addison