National Liberal Party (UK, 1999)

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For unrelated parties formed in 1922 and 1931, see National Liberal Party (UK, 1922) and National Liberal Party (UK, 1931).
National Liberal Party
Founded March 1999
Political position Third Position
Colours     
Website
http://nationalliberal.org/
Politics of the United Kingdom
Political parties
Elections

The National Liberal Party is a Third Position political party formed in the United Kingdom in 1999. It was registered with the Electoral Commission by Dean Williamson and Graham Williamson on 25 March 1999.[1] The group sporadically contested elections until emerging more prominently in the run up the 2014 European Parliament election. It had eight candidates in the London constituency election in May 2014.[2]

Background[edit]

The party was founded by Graham Williamson and Patrick Harrington. Williamson is a former deputy chairman of the National Front (NF) and a member of the executive of the British National Party (BNP)-supported "trade union" Solidarity. Harrington is BNP leader Nick Griffin's European Parliament staff manager and a former leading figure in the NF, and general secretary of Solidarity. They have run a nationalist think tank for more than twenty years called the Third Way, named after the third-positionist strategies influenced by the ideology of Roberto Fiore, an Italian fascist. Third-positionist ideas were a great influence on the "Political Soldier" faction of the NF, which included Williamson, Harrington and Griffin.

In 1990, a year after the "political soldiers" voted to disband the National Front, Third Way was founded as a political think tank. It was re-registered as "National Liberal Party – The Third Way" in 2006 to run candidates in local elections.[3] The party ran in the UK general election, 2010, contesting the Eastleigh seat. Their candidate Keith Lowe ran a campaign attacking the sitting MP Chris Huhne for his failure to support a referendum over the Treaty of Lisbon.[4] During the election the presence of several former NF members in prominent position was raised in the local press although General Secretary David Durant, himself a former NF member, claimed that the party belonged to the "patriotic centre".[4]

2014 European election[edit]

Among Fiore's ideas was that far right white nationalist groups should form alliances with national liberation movements and separatists. Williamson and Harrington pioneered this in the National Front in the 1980s, but apart from allowing them to say they were not racists because they had black allies, the policy was not a success. The National Liberal Party has kept up this strategy, appealing for ethnic minority votes by focusing on national struggles abroad and with particular emphasis on injustices in Sri Lanka and India.

Despite the far right and fascist backgrounds of its leaders, the party contested elections in London on a multicultural election list including Tamil, Sikh and Kurdish candidates. The party manifesto gave no indication of its far right origins. It says, "The National Liberal Party is putting forward a team of 8 ethnically and racially diverse candidates – Tamil, Sikh, Azerbaijan, Kurdish, English, north Borneo (sabah-sarawak), to represent the real grassroots London."[3] One of the group's candidates, Yussuf Anwar, appeared on BBC's Daily Politics on 21 May 2014 and declared himself proud of Graham Williamson, arguing that his NF membership was a youthful mistake.[5]

Following the revelations about the party's origins form Channel 4 they were also attacked in Heritage and Destiny, a political journal close to the International Third Position. In particular they focused on the party's website on which they named their political progenitors as the Earl of Rosebery, Joseph Chamberlain and Leslie Hore-Belisha. The article criticised the party's choice for the Jewish links of all except Chamberlain (with Heritage & Destiny taking a largely anti-Semitic editorial position) as well as the perceived lack of ideological connection between the three figures and even the poor spelling of their names on the NLP website.[6]

Elections contested[edit]

General election, 6 May 2010[edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes  %
Eastleigh Keith Low 93 0.2[7]

2014 European elections[edit]

Regional lists Candidates Votes  % MEPs
London Graham Williamson
Jagdeesh Singh
Sockalingham Yogalingam
Doris Jones
Upkar Singh Rai
Yuseef Anwar
Araz Yurdseven
Bernard Dube
6,736 0.3 0[8]

References[edit]