National Party (UK, 1976)

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The National Party of the United Kingdom[1] (NP) was a short-lived splinter party from the British National Front (NF). It was formed on 6 January 1976, and was dissolved before the 1983 general election.[2]

Background and formation[edit]

The origins of the party were the result of 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,[3] and of later 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 for his 'populist' approach. The electoral results from the General Election in 1974 showed the three most successful NF candidates "were all from the 'Populist' wing".[4] 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".[5]

Kingsley Read broke from the NF altogether and formed the NP 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.[6] At its inaugural meeting the party narrowly voted not to purge the party of "all those with Nazi, Fascist or Communist backgrounds".[7]

Development of the party[edit]

Richard Lawson helped shape the ideology of the party the source of which was "the 'soft' National Socialism of Rohm and the SD".[8] Lawson edited the party journal, Britain First, which was published between 1974 and 1977.[9] As well as Powellite Conservatives and NF Populists a number of members were "socially radical Strasserites".[5] The National Party "claimed to be more opposed to immigration than the NF"[5] and sought the "repatriation or resettlement abroad of all coloured and other racial incompatible immigrants, their dependents and descendents".[10] The National Party also circulated Holocaust denial material such as Arthur Butz's The Hoax of the Twentieth Century.[11]

In the local elections of 1976 it had two councillors elected in Blackburn, Lancashire,[12] These were the last electoral successes for any British far-right party until the election of Derek Beackon of the British National Party in 1993.[13] However, the party went in decline during 1977.

Some members, such as Steve Brady, later rejoined the NF,[14] and other members appear to have joined the Nationalist Party.[2]

A Granada TV World in Action investigative documentary in 1976 exposed the pro-Nazi views of Kingsley Read and others despite the fact that one of the reasons Kingsley Read had left the National Front was because of the neo-Nazi backgrounds of some of its members.[1] Kingsley Read later recanted his far right views and re-joined the Conservative Party. Searchlight magazine claimed that he had given them the entire membership list of the party.[15]

In 1979, Andrew Fountaine lead a similar breakaway movement in contempt of the Nazi connections of the National Front, called the Constitutional Movement. However, after little electoral success, it disbanded in 1984.

Leading members[edit]

The NP attracted a number of leading figures from the NF/far right to its ranks. These included:[16]

Other members of note included

  • Steve Brady, an influential figure in Loyalist circles in Northern Ireland, a member of the Orange Order,[17] and mainstay of the far right.
  • Richard "Jock" Spooner, who emigrated to Australia where he became a leading activist in the One Nation Party.
  • Robert Hallman, leader of the Blackburn branch of the NP. Hallman stood unsuccessfully for a By-election on Blackburn council in 1976. He was later arrested for possession of a firearm.[1]
  • John Frankman, was elected to Blackburn council alongside Kingsley Read at the 1976 United Kingdom local elections. He was forced to resign as a councillor after it emerged he had had a suspended prison sentence for driving without insurance.[1]

National Party elections[edit]

Given that its brief history mainly fell between two general elections the NP only 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

1977 Greater London Council election[18][edit]

Constituency Candidate Votes Percentage
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
Greenwich David McCalden 252 1.2
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
Total 8,300 0.4


  1. ^ a b c d "The National Party", World In Action, Granada TV, 1976 (on British Film Institute website)
  2. ^ a b Boothroyd, David Politico's Guide to The History of British Political Parties Politico's Publishing Ltd 2001, p200
  3. ^ Sykes, Alan The Radical Right in Britain Palgrave, 2005, p. 109
  4. ^ Sykes, Alan The Radical Right in Britain Palgrave, 2005, p.110
  5. ^ a b c Sykes, Alan The Radical Right in Britain Palgrave, 2005, p.111
  6. ^ S. Taylor, The National Front in English Politics, London: Macmillan, 1982, p.44
  7. ^ Martin Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana Collins, Revised Edition 1978, p.193
  8. ^ Martin Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana Collins, Revised Edition 1978, pp.194
  9. ^ "Catalogue of copies held in the British Library".
  10. ^ Walker, Martin The National Front Fontana Collins, 1977, pp. 193-4
  11. ^ Ray Hill & Andrew Bell, The Other Face of Terror, London: Grafton, 1988, pp. 250-251
  12. ^ N. Fielding, The National Front, London: Roultedge, 1981, p. 27.
  13. ^ Sykes, Alan The Radical Right in Britain Palgrave, 2005, p. 131
  14. ^ Sykes, Alan The Radical Right in Britain, Palgrave, 2005, p.117
  15. ^ Searchlight, issue 327, September 2002
  16. ^ M. Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana Collins, Revised Edition 1978, pp. 189-193
  17. ^ Ray Hill & Andrew Bell, The Other Face of Terror, London: Grafton, 1988, pp. 185-6
  18. ^ "Greater London Council Election Results".


  • 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)