College kicks out trainee for NF link

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The Independent Online
A TRAINEE lecturer has been asked to leave a multi-racial college after it emerged he was a former policy member of the far right National Front.

Senior staff at Hammersmith and West London College were outraged when they discovered one of the trainee teachers sent by the University of Greenwich was Patrick Harrington.

Mr Harrington, former leader of the National Front, turned up for teacher practice at Hammersmith College a fortnight ago. He had only taught one class in information technology when he was told to leave.

Mr Harrington, who is now leader of the Third Way, a National Front offshoot, said he was "saddened" by his expulsion. "I still do not know of what I am accused and I fear they were just harking back to the past. What has happened is sad because I was forming good relationships with people at the college."

Principal John Stone took the decision to bar Mr Harrington from the college, which has a high proportion of black and Asian students, after being informed about Mr Harrington's identity by concerned lecturers.

Mr Stone summoned a representative of the University of Greenwich to demand an explanation as to why it had sent a man who has frequently given speeches about the "dangers" posed by the ethnic minorities. "After discussions with the University of Greenwich it was decided that a more suitable placement could be found for Mr Harrington," he said.

A Hammersmith College lecturer said: "Staff at the college were stunned when we realised the University of Greenwich had sent us a man like Harrington. And we are flabbergasted that they are knowingly training the leader of the Third Way to become a lecturer."

The college, whose students are mainly aged between 16 and 20, has an agreement to take people from the university's teacher training course on teaching practice. But the arrangement is now being reviewed.

Mr Harrington started training to become a lecturer at theuniversity's Avery Hill campus in September. His future on the course is not in doubt. A teacher practice placement is compulsory, but staff at other colleges which the university supplies may also object to his presence.

The Anti Nazi League has threatened to mount a campaign against Mr Harrington, based on the one adopted at the Polytechnic of North London in 1984, unless he is expelled from the course.

A University of Greenwich spokesman said: "Political affiliation is not a criterion for entry to any university. What concerns us is the behaviour of students on our courses. The University of Greenwich has a robust equal opportunities policy and we take any breach of it very seriously indeed. We have had no reason to invoke the disciplinary procedure in this case."

Harrington gained notoriety in 1984 when, as the National Front student organiser, he needed a police escort to attend lectures on a philosophy course at the Polytechnic of North London. Hundreds of students had mounted pickets to stop him from entering the building.