The two British National Party MEPs elected in last month’s European elections have this week been appointed to key parliamentary committees. Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons will take up seats on the influential Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) and Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) committees.
The committee Griffin will sit on (ENVI) is currently looking into smoke-free environments and tackling alcoholism. The BNP has pledged to overturn the smoking ban and “slash the duty on beer” served in pubs. ENVI also oversees the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
The BNP policy in this area is to state, without evidence, that “diseases such as TB and AIDS are on the increase as a result of immigration.”
The AFCO committee, on which Brons will sit, is responsible for “the implementation of the EU Treaty” – a treaty opposed by the BNP – who are also pledged to complete withdrawal from the EU. The duo will be substitutes on two further committees: Griffin on Industry, Research and Energy and Brons on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, giving them a foothold in four of the Parliament’s 22 committees.
Griffin and Brons sit amongst the Euronat grouping of far-Right political parties, alongside the likes of convicted Holocaust-denier and alleged torturer Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of France’s Front National.
In 1987, Le Pen described the Holocaust as “just a detail”, adding in 1996 that “if you take a 1,000-page book on World War II, the concentration camps take up only two pages and the gas chambers ten to 15 lines; that is what one calls a detail.”
In 1957, Le Pen is alleged to have committed acts of torture while a lieutenant in the Algerian War, an assertion backed up evidence from Le Monde – the paper producing the torture dagger used by Le Pen at a Paris libel trial in 2003.
The other parties in the BNP’s grouping are the Dutch Nieuw Rechts, Italy’s Fiamma Tricolore, the Swedish National Democrats and Spain’s Democracia Nacional.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.