Schoolboy confronts Griffin at memorial

BNP leader argues with a 13-year-old at WWI monument to Indian troops

Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, has paid a secret visit to a First World War memorial in Belgium – only to become embroiled in an angry confrontation with a 13-year-old schoolboy, The Independent has learnt.

On Wednesday the pupil, William Robey, was in Ypres visiting the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing as part of a school trip. It was built to commemorate the thousands of British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in the Ypres Salient in 1914-17, and its walls are inscribed with the names of 54,360 men who died for the British cause – including the 40th Pathans, an Indian infantry regiment which suffered great losses. But as "The Last Post" was about to be played, the schoolboy spotted Nick Griffin surrounded by some of his supporters.

William told The Independent: "I asked him if I could take his picture, next to the memorial for Pathan Indians. He reluctantly agreed, but as I went to take my photo I asked him, 'Isn't this against your party's policy?' One of his supporters put his hand over the lens, told me to 'get my facts straight', and grabbed my arm.

"I took the picture but it's very blurry. I said to him, 'Your party's built on hatred.' He started shouting at me, pointing his finger. The rest of his lot were all laughing and smirking. I just felt a bit sick inside to see him there to be honest. There they were with their poppies on, trying to put this respectable front on, yet they're happy to confront a 13-year-old at a war memorial to try and get their point across.

"He was just saying 'I've got lots of Sikh friends' when my teacher stepped in and took me away."

A BNP spokesperson said Mr Griffin often visits War Memorials when he returns to the European Parliament. He said the BNP leader "doesn't recall any jostling,." He also "It wasn't one of Nick's security entourage who put his hand over the camera. It was someone else who was there."

William's mother, Lucy, said that since the incident her son had been approached by a number of people who wanted to congratulate him for "standing up against racism".

She added that William was "very into his politics" and "knew his stuff", hinting that he might have a career in public life ahead of him – although his talent for asking difficult questions of politicians suggests that a career in journalism might also beckon.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea