BNP lures teenagers through youth camp

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Indy Politics

Children as young as 14 are being recruited by the British National Party with the lure of a Scouts-style holiday camp featuring paintballing and archery.

The so-called Camp Excalibur event, to be held later this month, will also advise teenagers how to distribute BNP leaflets in their school and recruit members for the party.

Last night, Tom Watson, Labour MP for West Bromwich East, called the group a "latterday Hitler Youth" and wrote to Estelle Morris, the Secretary of State for Education, to ensure that schools prohibited BNP activity in the playground.

The camp will act as a launchpad for Young BNP, the party's new youth wing, which aims to recruit pupils across the country, including the northern towns that saw race riots this summer.

The Independent has learnt that a leaflet will be given to members, encouraging them to build a database of their schoolmates' mobile phone numbers.

As well as the membership leaflet, other controversial material will be distributed to the teenagers, including leaflets blaming asylum-seekers for lengthening NHS waiting lists and homelessness.

According to the BNP's website, party members "or supporters" aged between 14 and 25 can attend Camp Excalibur to take part in "paintballing, archery, football, quiz, swimming, hiking and other outdoor pursuits". The camp, which is being held at an undisclosed location "three hours from anywhere in England", will also feature "campfire singing, refreshments and much, much more".

"Camp Excalibur is not just a male event! There is plenty to do for young women as well, and several girls are helping to organise the weekend. Don't miss the Young BNP event of the year!" the website declares.

The BNP says that the event will be "all but politics-free", but one of its centrepieces will be a closing meeting addressed by the chairman of Young BNP, Mark Collett, and the party's national chairman, Nick Griffin. Mr Collett has told those inquiring about the weekend that it will cost £10 and that a minibus will pick them up wherever they are. "We've got a few paintball guns of our own so it should be good fun," he said.

The BNP has dogged the Tory leadership contest. Last month Iain Duncan Smith was forced to sack a vice-president of his campaign ­ Nick Griffin's father Edgar ­ after he admitted links to the BNP. Earlier this week, the party backed Mr Duncan Smith as Tory leader, an endorsement he rejected.

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