Lib Dems embarrassed by delay in expelling neo-Nazi sympathiser

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Indy Politics

A neo-Nazi sympathiser who runs an anti-Semitic website with links to white supremacist groups around the world was allowed to stay in the Liberal Democrat party for nearly two years despite official knowledge of his extreme views.

Sean Bryson's membership was terminated earlier this month for bringing the party into "disrepute" after he sent racist e-mails to senior Liberal Democrats. The party had known about Mr Bryson and his links to neo-Nazis, anti-immigrant groups, and far-right historical revisionists for at least a year. He had been a member of the Liberal Democrats since 1994 and was approached about leafleting for the local Kensington and Chelsea party.

Last month Mr Bryson joined the British National Party and now urges people to join the BNP's mailing list. His website includes anti-Semitic cartoons and links to racist groups including White Storm, an international white supremacist network.

Attempts by members of London Liberal Democrats to have Mr Bryson's membership revoked last year were overruled by advisers from the party headquarters because they believed there was not enough evidence to act legally.

Mr Bryson, who runs an off-licence, denied yesterday that he was racist or that his website was unbalanced or anti-Semitic. He said he joined the Liberal Democrats because he supported their call to reform the voting system, which would allow the election of smaller parties and bring about a "more even-handed approach" to politics. "I couldn't care less that they have thrown me out," he said. "I am Mr Joe Public. I am a BNP member. The BNP are going to win anyway."

It was only after a racist e-mail from Mr Bryson reached the offices of Charles Kennedy, the party leader, and the Liberal Democrat chief whip that he was thrown out.

The revelation that the party has allowed a racist with neo-Nazi links to remain a member for so long will particularly embarrass Mr Kennedy, who has fiercely criticised opponents of multiculturalism.

On his website, Mr Bryson criticises "politically-correct fascists", "the local Jewish community" and "other minority groups" in the west London district of Notting Hill, where he lives. His site has links to several neo-Nazi groups.