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UK Politics

BNP leader pulls out of Palace garden party

British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin bowed out of attending a Buckingham Palace garden party today, saying he had "no wish to embarrass the Queen".

The right wing politician had been invited to the event by BNP colleague Richard Barnbrook who, as a London Assembly member, was nominated for two tickets by the Greater London Authority (GLA).

Mr Griffin said he would not now be attending the party after the controversial invitation led to the Mayor and senior members of the GLA accusing the BNP of exploiting the situation for publicity.

Mr Griffin said: "We believe it is still outrageous that a democratically elected member of the London Assembly can't invite who he likes as a guest to the party at the Palace.

"Nevertheless, because we have no wish to embarrass the Queen and allow the liberal left to do more damage to our institutions, I've withdrawn from the idea of going myself."

He said Mr Barnbrook would still be going and would be taking the mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Mr Barnbrook said he would not reveal the name of the soldier's mother, but added that he had been working closely with her in east London.

Speaking outside the Houses of Parliament, Mr Griffin said: "While we expected some coverage, we never expected it to be quite as hysterical from the opposition as it was."

He said he did not want to give the "intellectual elite" the opportunity "to use us and the British National Party to further their ends, particularly by potentially embarrassing the Queen and the institution of the monarchy".

"Our institutions are in enough trouble as they are at present," he said.