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BNP, UK Far Right Party, To Admit Non-Whites

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LONDON — The far-right British National Party agreed Thursday to change its constitution to let nonwhite people become members.

The party opposes immigration and says it fights for "indigenous" Britons.

A government-backed rights body took it to court, claiming the party's constitution is discriminatory.

At a court hearing, a lawyer for the party said leader Nick Griffin would ask members next month to change the constitution so it did not discriminate on the grounds of race or religion.

In an order issued at the Central London County Court, the BNP agreed to use "all reasonable endeavors" to revise its constitution to comply with the Equality Bill, which bans discrimination on the grounds of race, gender or religious belief.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, which brought the case, said it would be watching to see whether the BNP complied.

"Political parties, like any other organization, are obliged to respect the law and not discriminate against people," said the commission's John Wadham.

There are few indications, however, that nonwhites would like to join.

The BNP has been encouraged by recent electoral success and has sought to shed a thuggish imagine and enter the political mainstream. Earlier this year it won two seats in the European Parliament.

Richard Barnbrook, the party's representative on the London Assembly, said he believed members would vote to change the constitution, because "trying to fight this court case would bankrupt the party and we have more important issues to deal with, including elections."

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