The British National party has been struck off the UK’s register of political parties, the Electoral Commission has confirmed.
All UK political parties are required every year to confirm with the commission that their details are accurate and pay a pre-registration fee of £25, which the BNP failed to do.
The Electoral Commission said: “The last date a notification can be submitted to the commission is six months after the deadline for submission of a party’s statement of accounts.
“The BNP’s statement of accounts were due on 7 July 2015. Their annual confirmation of registered details was therefore due on or before 7 January 2016.
“The Electoral Commission did not receive the notification by this date and is required by law to remove the BNP from its register of political parties in Great Britain.”
It means the party’s name, descriptions and emblems cannot be used on ballot papers unless it submits a fresh application to be considered a recognised party.
BNP spokesman Stephen Squire said it was a “clerical error on our part” and that the party would submit the necessary paperwork within the next few days. “It’s a little bit embarrassing,” he said, but insisted it would be “business as usual” for the BNP, which intended to contest the London mayoral election and some council seats.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of phone calls we’ve had from people concerned we might be disappearing,” Squire added.
The BNP, which had more than 50 council seats and two MEPs in 2009, has been in steep decline for several years and fielded only eight candidates at the general election, down from 338 in 2010.
The former BNP leader Nick Griffin, who during an electoral meltdown in 2014 accepted that the BNP could be considered “racist”, was later expelled for allegedly “trying to cause disunity” in an attempt to destabilise the organisation.
Adam Walker replaced him after the election defeat. Walker had said in a statement that his “primary focus is reconnecting the BNP with the ordinary person in the street”.
He said he was known in the party for leading street protests and demanding the restoration of capital punishment for the killers of Lee Rigby.
Matthew Goodwin, professor of politics at the University of Kent and who has written on the radical right, told the Guardian the news confirmed the BNP’s “demise in British politics”.
He said : “The BNP has been blighted by continued factionalism or by continual infighting leading to the expulsion of its leader Nick Griffin.
“The party has come a long way from its peak in 2009 when it had two seats in the European parliament and was attracting a growing base in local government and was looking to break through, notably in Barking and Dagenham in 2010 general election.”
Although far-right groups such as Britain First and the new Pegida UK movement were trying to sustain a presence within British politics Goodwin said that such groups: “while they remain active are also monitored very heavily and do not yet to appear to be connecting with the population in the way similar groups in other European groups are doing.
“So this is a moment to reflect on the failure of the British far-right than it is about it’s future progress,” he said
The party has been mired in financial difficulty. The commission fined the BNP £2,700 for the late delivery of its statement of accounts for 2010.
The BNP was on the brink of bankruptcy that year when Marmite owner Unilever launched high court proceedings after the party unveiled an election broadcast that ripped off the food brand’s “love it or hate it” strapline, according to Marketing Week.
The TV advert featured Griffin next to a huge jar of Marmite with a strapline reading “love Britain, vote BNP”.
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