National Party (UK, 1976)
The National Party of the United Kingdom (NPUK) was a short-lived but highly-influential prototype neo-conservative breakaway party from the National Front (NF). It was formed in December 1975 and officially launched on 6 January 1976 but was dissolved before the 1983 general election,.
Background and formation
The origins of the party were partly the result of both internal dissention within the Monday Club over "entry to the EEC and immigration" which led to "several leading Powellites" leaving the Conservative Party for the NF and then later fundamental ideological disagreements within the National Front.
John Kingsley Read became leader of the NF in 1974, but faced resistance from John Tyndall and his supporters, however, the electoral results from the General Election in 1974 showed the three most successful NF candidates "were all from the 'Populist' wing". With Tyndall proposing constitutional reform of the NF the 'Populist' counter-moves to expel him ended in failure. Tyndall went to court which resulted in the reinstatement of "Tyndall and his supporters. Subsequently, the courts also restored the NF headquarters and the membership lists to the Tyndall faction".
Kingsley Read broke from the NF altogether and formed the National Party of the United Kingdom (NPUK) with several other leading NF members. In all over 2000 members, or one quarter of the NF's total membership, joined the new party, which thus represented a considerable loss of support to the NF. At its inaugural meeting the party narrowly voted not to purge the party of "all those with Nazi, Fascist or Communist backgrounds".
Development of the party
Richard Lawson helped shape the ideology of the party the source of which was "the 'soft' National Socialism of Rohm and the SD". Lawson edited the party journal, Britain First, which was published between 1974 and 1977. As well as Powellite Conservatives and NF Populists a number of members were "socially radical Strasserites". The National Party "claimed to be more opposed to immigration than the NF" and sought the "repatriation or resettlement abroad of all coloured and other racial incompatible immigrants, their dependents and descendents". The National Party also circulated Holocaust denial material such as Arthur Butz's The Hoax of the Twentieth Century.
In the local elections of 1976 it had two councillors elected in Blackburn, Lancashire, which were to be the last electoral success for any British far-right party until the election of Derek Beackon of the British National Party in 1993. However, the party went in decline during 1977.
The NP attracted a number of leading figures from the NF/far right to its ranks. These included:
- Gordon Brown of the Greater Britain Movement. (Not to be confused with Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister and former leader of the Labour Party)
- Richard Lawson, editor of Britain First and later associated with the Official National Front and a leading exponent of British folk music.
- David McCalden, a former NF writer who later emigrated to the United States where he became a co-founder of a Holocaust denial organization the Institute for Historical Review.
- Roy Painter, a Conservative Party member from Enfield
- Denis Pirie, a veteran of the National Socialist Movement, though he later distanced himself from his extremist past.
Other members of note included
- Steve Brady, an influential figure in Loyalist circles in Northern Ireland and a member of the Orange Order., and mainstay of the far right.
- Richard "Jock" Spooner, who emigrated to Australia where he became a leading activist in the One Nation Party.
The party should not be confused with the Nationalist Party which, although having similar roots to the NPUK, was an alternative name for the Constitutional Movement of Andrew Fountaine. Similarly it had no connection to the National Party which briefly emerged from the National Fellowship.
National Party elections
Given that its brief history mainly fell between two general elections the NP only ever contested three by-elections for Westminster seats. In each of the three elections the NPUK finished behind the NF candidates, namely Andrew Fountaine, Joseph Parker and Paul Kavanagh respectively.
|Date of election||Constituency||Candidate||Votes||%|
|4 March 1976||Coventry North West||John Kingsley Read||208||0.6|
|4 November 1976||Walsall North||Marian Powell||258||0.7|
|24 February 1977||City of London and Westminster South||Michael Lobb||364||1.7|
|Bermondsey||L E Clifford||239||1.4|
|Bexleyheath||J D Turner||287||1.2|
|Brentford and Isleworth||R W Coker||507||1.4|
|Croydon Central||W H Porter||299||1.0|
|Croydon North East||Steve Brady||479||1.9|
|Croydon North West||P J Weedon||206||0.9|
|Croydon South||R Dummer||235||0.8|
|Deptford||M L Dixon||1,496||7.3|
|Dulwich||E H Arthurton||300||1.1|
|Ealing North||T Connolly||657||1.7|
|Feltham and Heston||J F Wood||458||1.4|
|Harrow East||Alan J Harding||445||1.7|
|Hayes and Harlington||F Muter||122||0.5|
|Lewisham East||A H Whitmore||181||0.6|
|Lewisham West||S G Avis||211||0.7|
|Peckham||J R Perryman||708||3.9|
|Tottenham||P I Goldfield||333||2.1|
|Uxbridge||J F De Ville||325||1.0|
|Wood Green||J Lennox||172||0.8|
|Woolwich East||T A Heath||236||1.2|
|Woolwich West||D Simpson||152||0.5|
- Boothroyd, David Politico's Guide to The History of British Political Parties Politico's Publishing Ltd 2001, p200
- Sykes, Alan The Radical Right in Britain Palgrave, 2005, p. 109
- Sykes, Alan The Radical Right in Britain Palgrave, 2005, p.110
- Sykes, Alan The Radical Right in Britain Palgrave, 2005, p.111
- S. Taylor, The National Front in English Politics, London: Macmillan, 1982, p.44
- Martin Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana Collins, Revised Edition 1978, p.193
- Martin Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana Collins, Revised Edition 1978, pp.194
- Catalogue of copies held in the British Library
- Walker, Martin The National Front Fontana Collins, 1977, pp. 193-4
- Ray Hill & Andrew Bell, The Other Face of Terror, London: Grafton, 1988, pp. 250-251
- N. Fielding, The National Front, London: Roultedge, 1981, p. 27
- Sykes, Alan The Radical Right in Britain Palgrave, 2005, p. 131
- Sykes, Alan The Radical Right in Britain Palgrave, 2005, p.117
- M. Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana Collins, Revised Edition 1978, pp. 189-193
- Ray Hill & Andrew Bell, The Other Face of Terror, London: Grafton, 1988, pp. 185-6
- A. Sykes, The Radical Right in Britain Palgrave, 2005
- S. Taylor, The National Front in English Politics, London: Macmillan, 1982
- M. Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana Collins, 1977 (Revised Edition 1978)