More than 100 members and supporters of the British National Party demonstrated outside the Royal Courts of Justice today as contempt of court proceedings were launched against party leader Nick Griffin.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission asked two judges to find Mr Griffin guilty of contempt in failing to comply with a county court judgment ordering the removal of potentially racist clauses from the BNP's constitution.
Robin Allen QC, appearing for the watchdog, accused the BNP of "playing with" the Commission and its officials instead of obeying the judgment.
The Commission is applying for the committal of Mr Griffin, BNP deputy Simon Darby and party officer Tanya Lumby.
Mr Griffin was not in court. Over the weekend he was re-admitted to hospital with suspected kidney stones. A spokesperson said he had been "in extreme pain" and doctors wanted him to undergo further treatment.
Mr Griffin said from his hospital bed: "This is a short-term health problem and I expect to be fighting-fit again soon".
Today's court action stems from a ruling that the BNP constitution breached discrimination laws because of a clause banning non-white members.
The constitution underwent revision, but in March Judge Paul Collins ruled at the Central London County Court that the new version was indirectly discriminatory against those of mixed-race, because it required party applicants to oppose "any form of integration or assimilation of... the indigenous British".
Another section required new members to submit to a two-hour vetting visit at their home by BNP officials, which Judge Collins ruled could be seen as "intimidatory".
The judge ordered both sections to be removed from the constitution.
Today, the equality watchdog asked Lord Justice Moore-Bick and Mr Justice Ramsey, sitting at London's High Court, to fine the BNP chiefs or possibly sequestrate party assets.Reuse content