The leader of the far-right British National Party said he will ask police to investigate how his party's membership list was posted online despite a court order. The publication was causing problems for several party members Wednesday, including a police officer who was being investigated.
The British National Party doesn't allow nonwhites as members and wants foreigners to go home. It confirmed that its membership list was leaked and published on the Internet — 12,000 names that included teachers, police officers and children.
The list has since been taken down, but some of those named have reportedly been threatened. BNP leader Nick Griffin said Wednesday the party has about 10,000 members and the published list was nearly a year out of date.
It's not illegal to be a member of the BNP, but some professions — including police and prison officers — are prevented from joining under race relations legislation.
The party believes indigenous Britons — essentially whites — should be given priority for schools and housing. It has also urged the government to give financial incentives for immigrants to return home, has previously denied the Holocaust and has criticized blacks and homosexuals.
The membership list includes at least two people who say they are either a police or prison officer, as well as teachers, soldiers and religious leaders. Home addresses and telephone numbers of members and their children also were published.
Police in the northern English city of Liverpool said Wednesday they are investigating an officer after his name appeared on the list. Also, self-described BNP members told British Broadcasting Corp. radio they had received threatening phone calls and abusive e-mails.
Griffin, who was filmed two years ago by an undercover journalist calling Islam a "wicked, vicious faith," said he thought the leak came from a disgruntled former employee who wanted the party to move even further to the right.
The leak came despite a High Court injunction this year prohibiting five people from publishing a list of party members.
"It was entirely wrongly used without authority by a very small group of previous party members who were expelled late last year who then passed it on, to who we simply don't know," Griffin said.
He sought to find a silver lining in the situation, however.
"The fact that we have teachers and doctors and women that knit, it's a fantastic event politically for us," Griffin said. "It's going to show people that we're not a bunch of skinhead morons, which is the left-wing media-created image."
The BNP was founded in the 1980s as an offshoot of the New National Front, a nationalist party with fascist views on immigration and race relations. Although it holds no parliamentary seats, the BNP now has about 50 of England's 22,000 local council seats.
In 2006, Simone Clark, then a principal dancer with the English National Ballet, was named as a member of the BNP. Demonstrators protested her performances and demanded she be fired, but the company said it wouldn't comment on one of its members' political views. Clark resigned from the ballet earlier this year.