Roy Painter

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Roy Painter (born 1933) was a former leading figure on the British far right.

A cab driver, he was a leading member of the Conservatives in Tottenham and had stood as a candidate for them in the Greater London Council. A supporter of Enoch Powell, he was involved with the Conservative Monday Club, although he resigned from the group (and the Tories) in 1972 when the Club began a process of removing its most extreme members.[1] Following his resignation, Painter joined the National Front, rapidly rising to a post on the NF Directorate by 1974.[2]

He made a weak start as a party candidate for the NF in Tottenham at the February 1974 general election; he finished with 1,270 votes (4.1%), behind the National Independence Party candidate. An improvement was shown in the October 1974 election when he captured 2,211 votes (8.3%) in the same seat. It has been argued that the vote was as much a personal one for Painter, a popular businessman in Haringey, as it was an endorsement of the NF.[3]

He became a prominent figure in the 'populist' wing of the NF, opposing John Tyndall and Martin Webster. He wrote an article in a 1974 issue of Spearhead entitled "Let's Make Nationalism Popular" which extolled the virtues of this path. It was followed by a rebuttal from Tyndall who described Painter's arguments as "sheer unadulterated claptrap".[4] Whilst espousing populism, Painter would tell Martin Webster, "I am a national socialist at heart. Only I am careful."[5] The 'populists', however, began to outvote Tyndall on the Directorate[6] and Painter dismissed Tyndall as a "tin pot Führer".[7]

Painter was believed by The Guardian to be a potential rival leader.[8] However, he instead supported John Kingsley Read.[9] Kingsley Read came under bitter attack from the hardliners who regained control of the party in 1976. "Kingsley Read, Roy Painter and other ex-Conservative populists"[10] left to form the short-lived National Party and Painter was appointed its Directorate.[11]

Painter rejoined the Conservatives in 1978, although his role with them was confined to local politics.[12]

Painter continues to be involved on the fringe of the far right. In 2003, with Ian Anderson, he addressed a conference organised by the Conservative Democratic Alliance.[13] In 2012, he gave a speech entitled "Was Enoch [Powell] right about immigration?" to a seminar organised by Alan Harvey of the Springbok Club and a one time chairman of the Swinton Circle,[14] with whom he had been in the National Party.

Elections contested[edit]

Date of election Constituency Party Votes % Source
February 1974 Tottenham NF 1270 4.1 The Guardian, 2 Mar 1974
October 1974 Tottenham NF 2211 8.3 The Guardian, 12 Oct 1974


  1. ^ M. Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana, 1977, p. 131
  2. ^ Walker, Martin The National Front, Fontana, 2nd edition 1978 p137
  3. ^ S. Taylor, The National Front in English Politics, London: Macmillan, 1982, p. 42
  4. ^ Walker, Martin The National Front, Fontana, 2nd edition 1978, p151
  5. ^ Fielding, Nigel The National Front Routledge, Kegan and Paul 1981 p25
  6. ^ Thurlow, Richard C. Thurlow Fascism in Britain: From Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts to the National Front 1998 P253
  7. ^ M. Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana, 1977, p. 187
  8. ^ Walker, Martin The National Front Fontana, 2nd edition 1978 p149
  9. ^ M. Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana, 1977, p. 176
  10. ^ Bean, John Many Shades of Black New Millennium 1999 p217
  11. ^ M. Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana, 1977, p. 193
  12. ^ G. Gable, "The Far Right in the United Kingdom" in L. Cheles, R. Ferguson & M. Vaughan (eds.), Neo-Fascism in Europe, London: Longman, 1991, p. 249
  13. ^ Searchlight magazine, "CDA rejects multiculturalism and moves towards new party", 2003 p47
  14. ^ Springbok Club Cyber Newsletter, June 2012