John Kingsley Read

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John Kingsley Read (1937 – 1985) was chairman of the British National Front (NF) from 1974 to 1976 and a founder of the National Party.

A former member of the Conservative Party and chairman of the Blackburn Young Conservatives, Read left to join the NF in 1973 having addressed a rally against the arrival of Ugandan Asians in Britain earlier that same year in Blackburn.[1]

A strong orator, Read rose quickly through the NF ranks, his style drawing comparisons to American politician George Wallace, to whom he also bore a passing physical resemblance.[2] Read was later denounced as a drunkard by Andrew Fountaine.[3]

After securing the support of potential rival Roy Painter, Read was elected Chairman of the National Front in 1974, with the neo-imperialist John Tyndall his deputy chairman, in what was regarded as a vote by the 'populist' or Strasserite wing of the party against the authoritarian Tyndall.[4]

Later Read himself "drifted" into the populist camp but was only narrowly re-elected as Chairman in 1975.[5] He tried to expel Tyndall from the party but Read's decision was overturned at the High Court.

Read then quit the NF along with many of his followers to establish the National Party (NP), which won two seats on Blackburn Council, one of them held by Read, but their other councillor was disqualified for election irregularities.

Read designed the front cover motif for the British edition of Arthur Butz's holocaust denial book The Hoax of the Twentieth Century[6] which was circulated by the NP. After the murder of a young Sikh man in a suspected racist attack, Read remarked during a speech at an NP meeting, "One down, a million to go", which effectively ended his presentation of a more 'moderate' stance. Read was later acquitted for making the statement in a decision which aroused "furious controversy".[7]

Following Read's death in 1985 Nick Griffin assert that Kingsley Read had been working with the knowledge of other leading members of the NF to feed false information to Searchlight magazine, although John Tyndall was convinced that Kingsley Read had been a double agent.[8] Searchlight stated that Read had supplied them with the entire membership list of the National Party.[9]

Elections contested[edit]

Date of election Constituency Party Votes  %
February 1974 Blackburn NF 1778 4.2
October 1974 Blackburn NF 1758 4.4
4 March 1976 Coventry NW NP 208 0.6

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martin Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana Collins, 1977, p. 136
  2. ^ M. Walker, The National Front, Fontana Collins, Revised Edition 1978, pp. 176
  3. ^ J. Bean, Many Shades of Black - Inside Britain's far Right, p. 217
  4. ^ M. Walker, The National Front, Fontana Collins, Revised Edition 1978pp 175-177
  5. ^ M. Walker, The National Front, Fontana Collins, Revised Edition 1978 p186, 188
  6. ^ Ray Hill & Andrew Bell, The Other Face of Terror, Grafton, 1988, pp. 235
  7. ^ M. Walker, The National Front, Fontana Collins, Revised Edition 1978, pp. 234
  8. ^ J. Tyndall, 'An Enemy Agent is "Exonerated"', Spearhead, August 2002, p. 11
  9. ^ Searchlight Magazine 327 September 2002