Robert West (politician)

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Robert West
Nationality British
Occupation Teacher (until 2015)
Known for BNP activist

Robert Malcolm Brian West (born 11 October 1955), is the founder of the Christian Council of Britain and a British National Party (BNP) activist.

Background[edit]

Prior to joining the British National Party, Robert West was a member of the Lincolnshire Council for Racial Equality. He was later suspended from the organisation.[1]

Theological training and claimed ordination[edit]

Today, West is not an active minister of any mainstream Christian organisation, and his credentials remain ambiguous.[2] Despite this, West has been described as the BNP's religious affairs spokesman.[3]

West has stated that he is "an ordained elder" of the Apostolic Church;[1] however, the church denies knowledge of him and has distanced itself from his views,[4] saying that "the only means by which he can maintain either his membership or office [of the Apostolic Church] is by attending one of our churches. If he were an active member of the Church his views would not be accepted by the Church and disciplinary action would be undertaken by the Church which strongly distances itself from views such as these".[4][5] At the website of the Apostolic Church, the third article under "Guidelines For Belief", makes it clear that only by regularly participating in the life of its church can one be considered a member, stating that "'luke warm' [sic] commitment is no good to God or to the Church".[6]

To counterract this, in a BBC broadcast aired in April 2009, before the European election, West produced a framed certificate, which he claimed as evidence of his right to be considered an ordained minister. West stated, "I attended the Apostolic Church training college, 1978 to 1979 in South Wales and I was in charge of one of their churches, which I ran, in effect, as a pastorate, for two years. And this has not been bought off the internet. It's a genuine article".[7] At their website, the BNP say, "The Rev Robert West was ordained by the Vice President of the Apostolic Church in 1979 and in 2003 he entered politics to help bring the Christian message to all the peoples of Britain".[8]

West now asserts himself to be a free and independent minister, sanctioned by the Christian Council of Britain, which he co-founded. It is closely connected to the BNP.[9][10][11]

At the website for the Christian Council of Britain, a summary of the organisation's yearly report for 2010, cites a membership of "just over 45".[12]

At the Church of England website a declaration dated 3 June 2014 states: "The House of Bishops of the Church of England have voted to make membership or support of the British National Party (BNP) or National Front (NF) a potential disciplinary offence for its clergy".[13]

The Right Reverend Doctor John Saxbee, Bishop of Lincoln has said: "The only church, as I understand it, which acknowledges him as a member is a church that he himself has founded and the only organisation which seems to endorse his views is an organisation which is a front organisation for the BNP. So I think we need to be very clear that Mr West, if he wants to promote his policies as being consistent with the Christian faith, is going to have to radically change his policies".[7]

Military and academic career[edit]

West is profiled at the BBC Norwich website as a former army officer and supply teacher, who holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Economics.[14]

According to the website of the British National Party, "The Rev West became a Christian at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, where he served under Lt General Sir Michael Willcocks RA, later Black Rod".[15]

According to the Peterborough Today website, West taught law and history for about ten years at Peterborough Regional College, until he was made redundant as part of a staff shake-up in 2005.[16] West "believed he was pushed out because of his religious beliefs and as a result of the school's equal opportunities policy, which, he claims, favours ethnic minority teachers".[16] An article on the official website for the BNP, dated 15 July 2013, West "... currently works in Peterborough, when not doing pastoral and preaching duties, as a supply teacher; being much appreciated for his class-handling skills amongst both primary and secondary children of all races and nationalities".[15]

However, on 1 May 2015, following a hearing at the National College for Teaching and Leadership, a prohibition order was issued against West due to his derogatory remarks made towards Muslims – such as claiming he was "allergic to Mohammedans", and claiming "Muslims worship the Devil" during a lesson on the Crusades – thus preventing him from teaching. The order states "that Reverend Robert West is prohibited from teaching indefinitely and cannot teach in any school, sixth form college, relevant youth accommodation or children's home in England. He may apply for the prohibition order to be set aside, but not until 12 May 2018".[17][18][19]

Political affiliation[edit]

West was formerly a Conservative member of South Holland District Council in Lincolnshire, but was suspended after he spoke at a BNP meeting in 2006. West subsequently defected to the British National Party and stated that his switch was prompted by Conservative leader David Cameron's priority list of candidates for the next general election. He said the list "excluded white male candidates in favour of women, non-whites, homosexuals and lesbians".[20]

In June 2009, West appeared alongside BNP MEP Andrew Brons on the BBC's The Big Questions,[21] and in 2014, he appeared in a BNP political broadcast. In this clip, West states: "The BNP is the only political party which will stop the Islamification of Britain, ban the burka and do its utmost to uphold your culture, heritage and identity".[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Thair Shaikh (15 May 2006). "Conservative councillor joins BNP". The Times. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Doubts over BNP man's title claims" Norwich Evening News 30 June 2009 – via Lancaster Unity
  3. ^ "Church debates BNP ban for clergy". BBC news. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Bartley, Jonathan. "Does any church claim 'Rev' Robert West?". Jonathan Bartley's blog. Ekklesia. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Of which Church is Robert West a "reverend"?". 13 July 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "Guidelines for belief". Apostolic Church in the United Kingdom. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "BNP Robert West: "This has not been bought of the internet"". BBC. Retrieved 22 May 2015 – via YouTube. 
  8. ^ "Charity Enters Politics to Undermine our Civil Liberties.". BNP.org.uk. British National Party. 15 July 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  9. ^ Pigott, Robert (7 April 2009). "Faith Diary: Vote Jesus?". BBC. Retrieved 16 June 2009. 
  10. ^ BNP members involved in 'Christian' front, Ekklesia (think tank), 14 March 2006 .
  11. ^ "BNP helping to establish church group based around racial ideology". Ekklesia. 16 March 2006. Retrieved 16 June 2009. 
  12. ^ West, Robert (2010). "2010 Yearly Report of the Christian Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Christian Council of Britain. Archived from the original on 28 May 2015 – via the Wayback Machine. 
  13. ^ "BNP and National Front incompatible with teaching of Church of England". Church of England News. 
  14. ^ "BBC NEWS - UK - England - Norfolk - City candidates give their views". bbc.co.uk. 
  15. ^ a b "Charity Enters Politics to Undermine our Civil Liberties.". British National Party. 29 June 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "BNP Christian Group Forming in Lincolnshire". Bartholomew's Notes on Religion. 
  17. ^ "Teacher misconduct panel outcome: Reverend Robert West". www.gov.uk. 
  18. ^ "Reverend Robert West banned over Muslims 'worship devil' remark". BBC News Online. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  19. ^ Sherriff, Lucy (13 May 2015). "Teacher Reverend Robert West Banned For Telling Pupils 'Muslims Worship The Devil'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  20. ^ "Suspended councillor moves to BNP". BBC News Online. 15 May 2006. Retrieved 11 January 2016. 
  21. ^ BNP Fake Vicar Defeated. 13 July 2009 – via YouTube. 
  22. ^ Banned BNP 2014 Broadcast. 29 April 2014 – via YouTube.