Richard Edmonds

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This article is about the far-right politician. For the scientist, see Richard Edmonds (scientist).
Richard Edmonds
Deputy chairman and
national organiser of the
British National Party
In office
1982–1999
Leader John Tyndall
Succeeded by Sharron Edwards
(as deputy chair)
Acting chairman of the
British National Party
In office
1986
Leader John Tyndall
Personal details
Born (1943-03-10) 10 March 1943 (age 71)
Hounslow, London, England
Nationality British
Political party National Front

Richard Edmonds (born 10 March 1943) is a veteran British far right politician. He was former deputy chairman and national organiser of the British National Party and a long-term supporter of John Tyndall.

Biography[edit]

Richard Edmonds holds a first class honours Bachelor of Science degree in electronic engineering from the University of Southampton.[1] He began his political career as a member of the Labour Party, before joining the National Front (NF), in which he held a number of positions during Tyndall's chairmanship of the party. In the October 1974 general election he was NF candidate at Deptford, polling 1731 votes (4.5%). At this time, he was a mathematics teacher at Tulse Hill Comprehensive, a school which contained many black pupils. His election address said, "To young immigrants, Richard Edmonds says that they should study to the best of their abilities, for their duty and future lie in helping their compatriots to build up their own countries".

He followed Tyndall into the New National Front in 1980 and was appointed head of the youth section, editing Young Nationalist magazine.

From 1982 onwards, Edmonds continued to hold influential positions within the newly formed British National Party, rising to deputy leader and also acting leader for a spell in 1986 whilst Tyndall was serving a prison sentence for incitement to racial hatred. He also took a role in funding the party, notably in 1989 when he provided some of the money for the purchase of a new party headquarters/bookshop in Welling.[2] Edmonds ran the party's Welling premises, living over the shop, for ten years, from 1989 to 1999. Edmonds' leading role in the party was further strengthened by his result in the 1992 election when his 3.6% share of the vote in Bethnal Green and Stepney represented the party's best showing in that election.

Edmonds has been a controversial figure and has a number of 'spent' criminal convictions. In 1988, The Sunday Times revealed that Holocaust News, a publication that claimed The Holocaust was an "evil hoax", was being published by Edmonds, on behalf of a BNP front organisation, the Centre for Historical Review, and distributed by members. According to John Tyndall, after this interview took place Edmonds gave Jon Craig and Jo Revell, the two journalists covering the story, his business card telephone number in the strictest confidence. Subsequently the published article contained the name of the company Edmonds worked for. Tyndall says that the next day Edmonds was told he would have to leave.[3] The theme was re-visited in Panorama on 8 April 1991, when Edmonds described the publication as "a wonderful statement of the truth".[4] In 1993, Edmonds and a group of BNP members were drinking outside a pub in Bethnal Green; when a black man and his white girlfriend tried to pass they were spat at by the BNP crowd who shouted "nigger lover" and "monkey" at them. Edmonds threw a beer glass at them and the others "glassed" the man's face and punched and kicked him. Edmonds was sentenced to three months in prison for his part in this racially-motivated assault.[5] He had previously been convicted for damaging a statue of Nelson Mandela on the South Bank in London. There was further controversy in 1993 when he told The Guardian's Duncan Campbell that "we [the BNP] are 100% racist".[6] Edmonds had previously clarified his position to Panorama as "racism means long live the white race, long live the British race".[7]

Edmonds held the position of national organiser until 1999 when he was forced to resign following the victory of Nick Griffin in the leadership election that year. Edmonds remained Tyndall's closest ally but was not expelled from the party when Tyndall and another long-term ally, John Morse, were expelled in 2003, before being subsequently reinstated. Edmonds continued to write for Spearhead until it ceased publication on Tyndall's death in 2005. Although he sometimes attended events sponsored by the Nationalist Alliance, Edmonds remained a member of the BNP, playing a leading role in its Croydon branch (which has been at times somewhat cool towards the national leadership).[8]

Surprisingly to some, Edmonds was co-opted by Griffin onto the BNP's Advisory Council in September 2008, thereby returning to the upper echelon of the party and ending his period of apparent dissidence. However, in August 2010, following Eddy Butler's unsuccessful leadership challenge, Edmonds was sacked from the Advisory Council due both to his open criticism of Griffin's fundraiser, Jim Dowson, and to his support for the leadership bid by Butler.[9]

Following the party's poor showing in the 2011 English local elections, Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliamentary elections, Edmonds announced his candidature for the leadership of the BNP. According to The Guardian Edmonds had little chance of success but the contest was expected to lead to a series of defections from the party.[10] At the end of May 2011 Richard Edmonds stepped down from his challenge in favour of Andrew Brons.[11]

The National Front, in a report on its 2011 AGM, claimed[12] that Edmonds had decided to rejoin the NF. He is now a member and activist of the NF.[13] He was the party's candidate in the 2012 Croydon North by-election, finishing eighth out of twelve candidates with 161 votes (0.7% vote share).[14]

Elections contested[edit]

UK Parliament elections[edit]

Date of election Constituency Party Votes  %
October 1974 Deptford NF 1,731 4.8
1983 Lewisham East BNP 288 0.7
1992 Bethnal Green & Stepney BNP 1,310 3.6
2012 Croydon North NF 161 0.7[14]

Greater London Council elections[edit]

Date of election Constituency Party Votes  %
1977 Deptford NF 1,463 7.2[15]
1981 Deptford NNF 487 2.0[15]

London Assembly elections[edit]

Date of election Constituency Party Votes  %
2012 Havering and Redbridge NF 1,936 1.4

References[edit]

  1. ^ Video on YouTube
  2. ^ N. Copsey, Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, p. 46
  3. ^ J. Tyndall, The Eleventh Hour, Welling, Kent: Albion Press, 1988, p. 285-86
  4. ^ N. Copsey, Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, pp. 43–44
  5. ^ BBC: BNP: Under the Skin
    East London Advertiser, 21 April 1994
    The Independent, 18 June 1994
    Daniel Trilling, Bloody Nasty People, pp26-27
  6. ^ Quoted in Gabriel, John Whitewash: Radicalized Politics and the Media, Routledge, 1998, p.158
  7. ^ Panorama – "Race Hate UK" on YouTube, 8 April 1991
  8. ^ Searchlight, February 2007
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ "BNP leader Nick Griffin isolated after election disasters", The Guardian, 20 May 2011
  11. ^ http://www.bnpreform2011.co.uk/?p=2379
  12. ^ Ian Edward National Front AGM
  13. ^ http://www.britishnationalfront.org/news/40-london-meeting-3rd-dec
  14. ^ a b "By-elections: Labour retains three seats" BBC News, 30 November 2012
  15. ^ a b http://www.election.demon.co.uk/glc/glclw.html

Bibliography[edit]

  • N. Copsey, Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004
  • John Tyndall, The Eleventh Hour, Welling: Albion Press, 1998

External links[edit]