Monday, 13 December 2010

Submission from Peter Strudwick


This constitution shall come into effect on ……….. day of …………. 2010 and supersedes all earlier constitutions which shall hereby become null, void and of no effect.

Party Name

The party’s official designation is “The British National Party” (also known as “the B.N.P.”) Its status is that of an unincorporated association comprising all persons who have lawfully become members of the party and who are pledged to carry out, through their membership, the party’s aims and objectives. Each member on joining agrees to be bound by the terms of this constitution, including the respecting of the contractual rights and liberties of other members.

Political Objectives

The party’s political philosophy is rooted in the ideology of nationalism which is the translation into effective action of patriotic sentiment, love of country and the preservation of our ancestral homeland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the unshakeable conviction of a British nationalist that the territorial integrity of the homeland is sacrosanct and that all policies, economic, social and foreign policy shall be conceived and maintained in the spirit of that conviction.

The principles of self-determination and non-intervention in the affairs of independent states (unless a proven British national interest is involved) shall be the necessary, if not the sufficient, condition of our involvement in the political process.

The party believes that economic prosperity and stability is best achieved through a predominantly private enterprise-based economy but within a framework of regulatory state intervention where necessary to eliminate cartels, restrictive practices and monopoly capitalism. In particular, we oppose unchecked free movement of labour and capital across national boundaries where it threatens the employment and well-being of our own nationals.

Specifically, our party asserts that finance shall exist to serve the nation, its industries and businesses and not to act as their masters.

Our party believes in a productive partnership of capital and labour, efficient management and a trade union movement responsive to its members’ collective bargaining interest in fair wages and good working conditions.

In international affairs, our party endorses the need for maximum international co-operation between states and the reciprocity principle of ambassadorship, including Britain’s membership of the United Nations (albeit under a reformed charter) but we firmly reject the doctrine of internationalism which, as a political construct, we hold to be in antithesis to nationalism and national preference.

Party Structure

The party believes firmly in the principles of representative democracy, embracing acceptance of the widest possible participation by its members in the party’s activities. We assert that our growth and development can therefore best be achieved by a “bottoms-up” rather than a “tops-down” approach through the promotion of local activism on the widest possible scale in all regions of our country.

These principles are reflected in the organigram set down herewith in this Constitution. In replacement of earlier constitutional arrangements the party’s governance shall be vested in a body to be known as the National Executive Council (N.E.C.)

The N.E.C. shall consist of the Party Chairman and all members of a Political Committee and an Administration Committee. The former shall comprise the following: the Party Chairman (who shall chair the Political Committee’s meetings), Deputy Chairman, National Organiser, Elections Officer, Nominating Officer, Publications Officer, Regional Organisers (up to 12 in number), Portfolio Holders (comprising between 8-10 persons), Young B.N.P. Chairman, Councillor representatives (up to three in number) and MPs/MEPs, such as shall have been elected.

The Political Committee shall meet a minimum of four times a year and its minutes shall be available to all members on request.

The Administration Committee shall comprise the following: a National Administrator (who shall chair the meetings of the Administration Committee), National Treasurer, Regional/Deputy Treasurer, Membership Secretary, Web Manager, Chairman of Board of Trustees, National Fundraiser, and co-opted members (up to four in number).

The Administration Committee shall meet a minimum of four times a year and its minutes shall be available to all members on request.

As per the organigram below, portfolio holders will be members who are responsible for research and political development in the main areas of the party’s programme. Their function is to work closely with the party chairman and to provide specific and high quality policy formulation to advance the party’s profile.

Office of Chairman

The Party Chairman, who is also the Party Leader, is the senior political officer of the party by virtue of the confidence reposed in him or her by the party’s members through election. As such, the Chairman has executive powers over the conduct of the party’s political programme and activities but not so as to derogate from powers vested by the Constitution in other officers of the party. The Chairman and National Administrator, who is the party’s principal administration officer, shall at all times and whenever possible work in co-operation with each other in the best interests of the party.

Party Organisation

The nationwide administrative organisation of the party shall be settled on a geographical basis into regions. All branches, groups and contacts within a specific region shall be administered by that region and no other.

Each party region shall consist of a county or group of counties and within such party region branches, groups and contacts shall be based as a matter of administrative convenience on cities, towns and, where appropriate, parliamentary constituencies.

Branch organisers, group organisers and contacts shall be appointed and answerable to their respective regional organiser. Each regional organiser shall be appointed by and be answerable to the National Administrator.

Branch organisers and group organisers shall have full executive powers over the affairs of their branches and groups. All branches shall have a fundholder to be appointed by the National Treasurer to whom such fundholder is answerable.

The elevation of contact designation to group status, or group to branch status shall be the responsibility of the regional organiser.

Party Membership

Membership is open to all individuals who support the principles of our party and who wish to advance its objectives. An applicant for membership must be over the age of 16 and may not belong to another political party.

Upon admission to membership an individual acquires such rights and assumes such obligations as are consistent with the proper functioning of an unincorporated association, including the exercise at all times of good faith, and respect towards other members.

In the event of a member engaging in activities prejudicial to the good name of the party it will be open to the National Administrator, on submission from the relevant regional organiser, to remit such matter to the Disciplinary Committee for an opinion as to continued membership or suspension from membership. If a member is required to leave the party no part of any subscription already paid is refundable. Any period of suspension shall be discounted in assessing any period of ‘continuous membership’ for the purposes of this constitution.

An individual may resign membership by letter in writing to the National Administrator or simply by not renewing membership in the following year.

Individual membership subscriptions shall be set at a rate to be agreed by the National Executive Council on recommendation made by the National Treasurer. In the event of disagreement amongst the Executive Council the rate shall be determined by simple majority vote.

No party member shall be liable for any debts or liabilities incurred in good faith and in pursuance of the party’s activities beyond the amount of that member’s subscription in the year in which such debts or liabilities were duly incurred. Nor may any party member be held accountable for the debts and liabilities of any other member of the party, or of the party itself.

Board of Trustees

The legal title to all the party’s assets shall be vested in a board of trustees which, in accordance with statute law, shall consist of not more than four persons. The Board’s function shall be to ensure that any capital receipts from donations, legacies and bequests made to the party are productively invested for the benefit of the party and that all capital expenditures are made with a view to obtaining the best possible appreciation of capital while ensuring a reasonable income from such investment. The Board of Trustees shall, at all times, keep a recognised simple accounting system.

The Board should give due and proper consideration to any request by the Chairman as to the allocation of capital monies but they should at all times act independently and not be constrained to accede to such request.

Only party members are eligible to become members of the Board of Trustees and should comprise persons of proven professional or business competence as known to a regional organiser or on account of established reputation.

The Board shall work closely with the National Administrator and National Treasurer and the Chairman of the Board shall be a member of the National Executive Council.

In the event of a trustee retiring, dying, being adjudged bankrupt or being convicted of a criminal offence involving dishonesty, such trustee shall be replaced by a new trustee from within the party membership.

No trustee shall be made liable for any losses incurred during the trusteeship unless the same shall have arisen out of gross negligence or criminal activity, in which case only the trustee responsible, and not that person’s co-trustees, shall be accountable in any action brought for breach of trust.

Party Funds

The central funds of the party shall be administered by the National Treasurer, who shall be responsible for keeping regular accounts of all items of income and expenditure and submitting to the relevant authorities as required under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendum Act 2000 (“the PPERA”). All cheques disbursed from central funds shall bear the signature of the National Treasurer and the National Administrator. No signatures may be placed on cheques until after the details of the amount being paid and the payee’s name have been recorded on the cheque itself.

The funds of all regions, branches and groups shall be administered by the Deputy National Treasurer in a single regional account. The Deputy Treasurer, to be appointed by the National Treasurer with the approval of the Chairman and National Executive Council, shall keep regular accounts of all items of income and expenditure within each region and shall submit to the relevant authorities all records required under PPERA.

All cheques paid out from regional funds must bear the signatures of the Deputy Treasurer and regional fundholder.

The National Treasurer shall inspect all regional party funds from time to time, on giving reasonable notice of intention to do so, for the purposes of ensuring conformity. In the event of a branch or group becoming disbanded for any reason, all monies and financial books and records shall be passed into the custody and control of the regional treasurer.

Fund Raising

The party recognises the usefulness of a fundraiser and therefore endorses the value of a professional relationship with any individual, body of persons or consultancy able to fulfil this function. The party’s relationship with such fundraiser should be that of principal and agent. At all times the fundraiser should keep the National Administrator, National Treasurer and Board of Trustees fully informed of fundraising projects and activities. For this purpose, meetings of the above-named parties and, where appropriate, the Party Chairman should be convened to set targets and establish criteria for producing mutually beneficial results.

A fundraiser shall receive a commission for work undertaken on behalf of the party, which will be contractually established and noted in the accounting books of the party. Any salary to be paid in addition shall be secondary and of little more than nominal value, to be determined by the National Treasurer and National Administrator.

Indemnity for Party Officials

All designated officers of the party shall be entitled to be indemnified out of the central funds of the party against all losses and liabilities sustained or incurred by them in the bona-fide exercise of their duties provided that a full statement of the losses and liabilities is placed with the Board of Trustees for their verification and approval. A certificate to such effect shall be placed with the Chairman and National Administrator who shall endorse the certificate as a matter of due administration which is not then open to challenge by any member of the party.

Statements to Media

All statements to the media shall be made through the office of the National Administrator, who may designate for the purpose a suitable person to act as Press Officer, or, at local level, by an accredited regional press officer. No individual member, unless by prior authorisation from the National Administrator, may be interviewed by or give a statement to news media outlets on matters internal to their own region. That stated, a party elected representative may give interviews to local media outlets on issues relating to that person’s political work.

Disciplinary Procedures

The party embraces the concept of a Code of Conduct regulated by a three-stage process, according to the seriousness of the alleged offence: reprimand, suspension and dismissal. If a member is considered to have breached the code the member concerned will be sent a written reprimand by the regional organiser of the area in which the member lives.

A copy of such reprimand shall be submitted within seven days to the National Administrator who will then, in the first instance, seek to effect a conciliation. If that is successful the matter rests; in the event of it not being settled the matter shall not be pursued after the elapse of two months provided that no further instance of breach of association rules shall have occurred in the meantime. A second reprimand shall lead to automatic suspension, upon which event the member has a right of appeal within fourteen days of suspension to the National Administrator whose adjudication shall be final. If the suspension is confirmed the member is suspended from the party for a period of six months after which period the member’s rights shall be fully restored.

In the event of a breach of party rules, adjudged by the National Administrator, after discussion with the appropriate regional organiser, to be a serious offence, the member shall be required to appear before a party disciplinary tribunal at which the member may be represented for the purpose of the hearing, if he or she so wishes. According to standard tribunal practice, all arguments, both for and against expulsion, shall be heard before the Disciplinary Committee, as constituted.

If the member is found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interests of the party the member shall then be expelled and not be permitted to re-apply for membership until two years have elapsed. If the member is acquitted of wrongdoing full rights shall be restored to that member with immediate effect.

Elections to the Party Leadership

Elections for the post of National Chairman shall be held alternate years. Nominations shall open on 20th July in the relevant year and close at noon on 10th August. The election shall be held on a “one member, one vote” basis in a secret postal ballot of all members paid up by 1st July.

No member of the party may become a candidate for the post of National Chairman unless that person is and has been on or before the close of nominations, a fully paid-up member of the party for a minimum of two consecutive years and has secured the signatures on his or her nomination papers of 150 members who have a minimum of 18 months’ continuous membership, with no more than 20 signatures being obtained from any one region, as defined in the party structures. No member may nominate more than one candidate. On 1st July each year a statement shall be issued detailing the total number of members with at least 18 months’ continuous membership. Candidates and campaign managers will be issued with a list of such members in electronic format subject to signing a Data Protection Act declaration

Notification of a leadership election shall be issued in the September issue of British Nationalist and the October issue shall include an A4 manifesto sheet from each candidate (designed and supplied by them) and a ballot paper. These will be sent by post to all members, including those who normally receive their bulletins electronically.

A pre-recorded debate between the candidates shall be publicised on BNPtv. A dedicated page on the BNP website will give each candidate up to six sides of A4 designed by them. ‘Voice of Freedom’ shall give each candidate equal space to set out their programme. At least three hustings meetings shall be held, equal time being given for each candidate in different parts of the country which shall be open to all paid-up members from the areas in question. In the event that unavoidable external circumstances render any of these methods of communication impossible or impracticable they may be replaced as decided by majority vote of a special meeting of the National Executive Council.

The ballot papers shall be kept unopened until the post has arrived on the third Thursday of October, when all received ballots shall be opened and counted under the supervision of two senior officials appointed by the National Executive Council who are not candidates, together with the candidates and up to two scrutineers each.

The election shall take place on a first past the post basis.

In any relevant year in which no nominations for the post of National Chairman of the party are received, the currently serving holder of the post will be deemed to have received a mandate from the party to hold it for a further term. In any year where no leadership challenge is entered, the currently serving National Chairman will be deemed to be nominated automatically should he wish to stand again.

In the event of a General Election being called before the ballot papers have been posted, the campaign may be suspended at the discretion of the National Executive Council by a simple majority vote, the schedule being resumed immediately after polling day.

The successful candidate in any such election shall be considered as occupying the office of National Chairman as from completion of the counting of votes in that election.

No organisational or structural changes within the party may be made without approval of the party’s members as convened under procedures governing the conduct of an Extraordinary General Meeting or Special General Meeting.

In the event of illness or disability of any officer any function currently performed may be exercised by another member under such terms and conditions jointly agreed between the Chairman and National Administrator and endorsed by the National Executive Council, if necessary by majority vote.

Voting Members

The party endorses the concept of a “voting member”. The rules and procedures relative thereto shall be established by the Chairman and National Administrator and published in the party bulletin and on the website.

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