Union: 'Ban teachers who are BNP supporters'

Union calls for action after far-right party's 12,000 members are listed online
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Indy Politics

The wide array of jobs held by BNP supporters – exposed in a leaked internal document – brought demands last night for a ban on BNP membership in public sector professions.

The disclosure of the membership list, containing 12,000 names, phone numbers and addresses, prompted an investigation into the activities of a Merseyside police officer and a presenter's departure from a talk radio station. Several people named on the list denied ever having been members of the far-right organisation and called police after receiving death threats.

A 25-year-old model from London said she had been listed after signing a petition against the building of a super mosque. "I didn't know the petition was organised by them and have had nothing to do with them since. I don't know anything about politics."

The list contained the names of 15 teachers, four nurses, 16 members of the armed forces, civil servants, a police officer and even a member of the Royal household.

Merseyside Police said it was investigating PC Steve Bettley for "an alleged association with the party".

Paul Murray, a storesman at Windsor Castle, denied having any involvement with the party but admitted that he and his wife were once invited to a BNP social event, which they did not attend. A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said that Mr Murray, who used to live in the Royal Mews within the palace grounds, would not lose his job.

Membership of the BNP is forbidden under the contract that police and prison officers sign but supporters are allowed to take other public sector posts if they do not discuss their views.

Doctors, nurses and teachers are permitted to join the party provided that their views do not interfere with their professional conduct. But under new legislation, trade unions could win the right to expel members of the BNP if their opinions are judged to be incompatible with those of the union.

Chris Keates, the general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women teachers, said: "Those who declare their affiliation to the BNP should not be allowed to work in the teaching profession or in public services."

The Department for Children, Schools and Families said there was no ban on BNP supporters working in schools but they could be disciplined or sacked if they aired racist views. A retired teacher from Cheltenham said: "[The BNP] must be short of names and are dragging up any old names from the past. I have no objection to them but I was only a member briefly." Rod Lucas, a freelance broadcaster, was also identified as a BNP member. TalkSport said it would not offer him any more work. Mr Lucas said later he found BNP views "distasteful" and had joined as research for his show.

Nick Griffin, the BNP's leader, pledged to take court action against those behind the leak but said it had shown that his party's supporters came from all walks of life.

BNP members by profession

* 17 former police officers, including a chief inspector.

* 16 Armed Forces servicemen, including a Royal Marines Commando.

* 1 serving police officer, PC Steve Bettley of Merseyside Police.

* 1 radio presenter, Rod Lucas, formerly of TalkSport.

* Plus 15 teachers, four nurses and one serving prison officer

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