BNP in “bizarre” data protection row with MP

Gavin Barwell MP

The far-right British National Party has threatened to file a formal complaint against Croydon MP Gavin Barwell, for what they are calling a breach of the Data Protection Act, the Croydon Advertiser has reported.

The complaint relates to a questionnaire sent out by the Conservative Party two years ago and filled in by Clifford Le May, who would go on to become the BNP’s parliamentary candidate in Croydon Central.

Upon receiving the the completed questionnaire, Mr Barwell passed it on to the Croydon Advertiser, which published Mr Le May’s comments, including complaints about what he termed “violent immigrants who have no right to live among civilised white people.”

Now the BNP has sent a letter to Mr Barwell, the Conservative MP for Croydon Central, threatening to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office about the matter. They claim that Mr Barwell had no right to share the comments made in the questionnaire with a third party.

In the letter, Tony Martin, the BNP’s Croydon and Sutton branch organiser said: “Recently I have been looking into the legality of this leak and who is responsible. It looks illegal under the Data Protection Act 1998.”

A disclaimer on the Croydon Conservative Party’s website reads “We never sell or share information to anyone outside the Conservative Party.”

Simon Darby, a spokesperson for the BNP said: “These MPs have to learn they are not above the law and that the law applies to them too. There is a good reason why we are making a claim against Mr Barwell – to stop data being misused.”

Mr Barwell was unavailable to comment, but speaking to the Croydon Advertiser on Monday he stood by his by leak of the questionnaire.

“Were it the response of a private individual I would not have released it,” he said. “But this was someone running for public office, so people have a right to know his views.”

Mr Barwell labelled the complaint against him as “bizarre” and stated that Mr Le May should be “ashamed” of the comments made in the questionnaire.

In the questionnaire, Mr Le May also referred to Mr Barwell, who was his rival in the Croydon Central parliamentary election last May, as a “traitor to his race and nation”.

Mr Martin has told the Croydon Advertiser that he intends to give Mr Barwell seven days to respond to the BNP’s complaint, after which time he will refer the matter to the Information Commissioner.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said that they could not comment until a formal complaint and all the details of the case had been received.

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