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UK Politics

Palace worker denies being BNP member

A worker in the Queen's household whose name appears on a list of British National Party members has denied being involved in the far-right party, Buckingham Palace said today.

Paul Murray a storeman in the Master's Department has said he is not a member of the organisation.

The allegation emerged with the publication on an internet blog of a list of more than 12,000 BNP supporters, which included current and ex-servicemen, religious ministers and teachers.

Pc Steve Bettley, a Merseyside officer named in the register, is being investigated by his force because being a member of the far-right party is banned by police.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed that Mr Murray was on the list and also a former employee who worked as a senior porter.

Commenting on Mr Murray he said: "We understand he's not a member of the BNP."

The storeman, who is said to work at Windsor Castle, believes his name may have appeared on the list because he was once invited to a BNP social event which he did not attend.

Merseyside police confirmed yesterday it was investigating whether Pc Bettley has links with the far right party.

A spokesman said: "We understand that the BNP names a Steve Bettley for an alleged association with the party.

"Whether Merseyside Pc Steve Bettley was, or is, a member of BNP is subject to an ongoing inquiry.

"Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe has reiterated our position that membership of the British National Party is totally incompatible with the duties and values of Merseyside Police. We will not accept a police officer or police staff being a member of BNP."

The Green Party has revealed one of its former parliamentary candidates joined the BNP because he believed its climate change policy "was more radical".

Keith Bessant, who ran for MP in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, in 2001 and 2005, was named in the list of members of the far right organisation.

The party also confirmed a church minister, Rev John Stanton, from Rochford, Essex, also exposed on the membership list, was also once a local Green Party chairman.

National Green Party chairman James Humphreys said in a statement: "The Green Party stands against racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and bigotry of all kinds."

He added: "We consider the BNP and their extremist views an affront to British values of tolerance, equality and solidarity.

"The Green Party is aware of the past membership of Mr Bessant and Rev Stanton. Both left the Green Party a number of years ago."

Nick Griffin, the leader of the far-right BNP, said yesterday the party would take court action after the leaking of the list.

In another development the BNP's deputy leader has denied using his taxpayer-funded position at the Greater London Authority to perform work for the far-right party.

Simon Darby is employed at City Hall as a part-time personal assistant to Richard Barnbrook, who became the first BNP representative to be elected to the London Assembly in May and is also the party's mayoral candidate.

But Mr Darby insisted his other role as the BNP's media spokesman did not interfere with his publicly-funded job.

He said: "I do work part-time for the GLA and I have to put in 22.5 hours a week.

"I am not circumscribed by political restrictions."