Andrew Brons

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Andrew Brons MEP

Andrew Brons as MEP.

Incumbent
Assumed office 
14 July 2009
Preceded by Richard Corbett

Chairman of the National Front
In office
1980–1984
Deputy Richard Verrall
Preceded by John Tyndall
Succeeded by Martin Wingfield

Born 3 June 1947 (1947-06-03) (age 71)
Hackney, London
Nationality British
Political party British National Party
British Democratic Party
Children 2 Daughters
Residence Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England.[1]
Alma mater University of York
Occupation Retired college lecturer, Harrogate College of Further Education[1]
Website www.andrewbronsmep.eu/
AndrewBronsMEPtv

Andrew Henry William Brons (born 3 June 1947, London) is a British politician. Long active in nationalist politics in Britain, he was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber for the British National Party (BNP) at the 2009 European Parliament election. He was previously the leader of the National Front during the 1980s. Brons left the BNP in 2012 to become a founding member of the British Democratic Party.

Contents

Family background and early life

Brons was born in Hackney, East London, spending his early childhood in Sidcup, on the outskirts of London, before his family moved to Harrogate when he was 11. He attended at Harrogate Grammar School until the age of 16, when he left to join the civil service, where he remained for 16 months before following part-time A Levels in law and economics at Harrogate College. He studied politics at the University of York, graduating in 1970.[2]

After graduation, Brons started work as a lecturer at Harrogate College in 1970, continuing to work there until 2005, lecturing in A Level Law and Government and Politics.[3] He has two daughters.[2]

Political career

Early activity

Andrew Brons began his political career in 1964 when, aged seventeen, he joined the National Socialist Movement (NSM),[4] founded by Colin Jordan. Questioned about his membership of the NSM in 2009, Brons said "People do silly things when they are 17. Peter Mandelson was once a member of the Young Communist League but we don't continue to call him a communist."[5] Brons was forced to return to the issue in March 2011 when - on the BBC's 'The Daily Politics' program - Dominic Carman, the Liberal Democrat candidate for the 2011 Barnsley Central by-election, called Brons, in his absence, a "National-Socialist and an admirer of Adolf Hitler".[6] In response Brons released a statement on his website, stating:

"It is on record that I was a member of the National Socialist Movement between the ages of seventeen and eighteen. I am now sixty-three, nearly sixty four - forty six years ago, nearly half a century! From the age of eighteen, I have been a committed supporter of Parliamentary democracy and the rule of law. The parties of which I have been a member, since then, have all been committed to democracy. Many Labour politicians have been members of the Communist Party in their teens, twenties and even thirties. Dennis Healey was a member of the Communist Party at the height of the Stalinist purges. Would anybody be allowed to call Mr. Healey an avowed Communist and admirer of Joseph Stalin?"[7]

National Front

In 1965, Brons joined John Bean's British National Party (not the same as the current incarnation), which later merged with the League of Empire Loyalists to form the National Front (NF) in 1967.[8] Brons was voted onto the National Front's national directorate in 1974, and "as the NF's education officer, he hosted seminars on racial nationalism and tried to give its racism a more 'scientific' basis."[9]

Brons contested Harrogate for the National Front in both 1974 general elections, polling 1,186 votes (2.3%) in February and 1,030 (2.3%) in October. When Labour's Roy Jenkins resigned his parliamentary seat on appointment as European Commission President in early 1977,[10] Brons contested the Birmingham Stechford by-election for the National Front.[11] He polled 2955 votes (8.2%), forcing the Liberal candidate into fourth place, and helping his stature to grow within the party.[citation needed]

Leadership

Following the poor showing by the National Front in the 1979 general election, and John Tyndall's subsequent departure, Brons became chairman of the NF in 1980 [9] and in doing so broke with his former mentor. Brons, though, led the NF in name only. Initially Martin Webster, who became National Activities Organiser, exerted the most influence, before the Political Soldier wing of the party became more important. Brons tended to support the Flag Group although he lost influence to Ian Anderson and faded from his leading position. Nevertheless, Brons had links to the Political Soldier wing and is credited with having introduced the concept of distributism into the party, which formed a central part of the new ideology of the NF.[12] Brons co-edited the NF journal New Nation, with Richard Verrall, the author of Did Six Million Really Die?[9]

Brons edited the National Front's June 1983 general election manifesto. The manifesto declared that the National Front rejects the whole concept of multiracialism and the attempt to eradicate ethnic European peoples through mass immigration. It recognised "inherent racial differences in Man. The races of Man are profoundly unequal in their characteristics, potential and abilities."[13]

On at least two occasions in the early 1980s, leftist groups attacked Brons' his employer for his dedication: on 24 June 1981, more than 500 communist student and Socialist Workers Party ANL supporters marched through Harrogate, taking over the college building where Brons was teaching; six protesters were arrested.[14] In February 1982, more than 300 protesters clashed with 100 National Front supporters outside Brons' classroom in central Harrogate, and in the process two students were stabbed and six people arrested.[15]

Subsequently, in October 1983, Brons called upon the Principal of Harrogate College as a character witness,[3] when Brons was convicted by magistrates of using "insulting words" and likely to cause a breach of the peace and fined £50. Brons had been leading a group leafleting in Leeds city centre. A shop assistant reported that the group had been shouting "National Front", while an unnamed policeman is supposed to have heard "white power" and "death to Jews".[16]

Although Brons continued as a leading member and even wrote a number of articles for the Political Soldier-supporting Nationalism Today, he was generally opposed to the positions of the 'official' National Front and resigned from the chairmanship in November 1984.[17][18] He left the 'official' party altogether in 1986 but, unlike Webster who had been expelled in 1984, Brons became involved with the Flag Group, an NF Fronde.[19] It was Brons who, in 1987, approached Tyndall with a view to an electoral alliance between the Flag Group and the modern British National Party but the proposed deal fell through and was repudiated by Martin Wingfield in The Flag newspaper.[20]

British National Party

After leaving the 'official' National Front, in 1986, Brons chiefly dedicated himself to the duties of his lectureship at Harrogate College until his retirement in 2005.[16] However, he maintained his membership of the National Front (as the Flag Group became known on the dissolution of the 'official' party in 1989) until 1999. On his retirement Brons joined the BNP in 2005.[5][21] He subsequently wrote at least two articles for the BNP's official magazine Identity.[22]

Brons had a "tentative agreement" to return to work at Harrogate College in September 2009.[3] He had however been selected as BNP lead candidate for the European Elections 2009 in the Yorkshire and the Humber constituency,[21] and upon becoming the BNP's first ever MEP he declined the college's offer.

Brons stood as a parliamentary candidate for the Keighley constituency in the 2010 general election.[23][24] He came fourth in the election with 1,962 votes.[24]

In August 2010 Brons and fellow members of the BNP Policy Committee were asked by the Chairman and Advisory Council to carry out a consultation of members about possible changes to the party's constitution,[25] with particular reference to two areas, governance of the party nationally and the rules for internal elections. On 8 November, his findings were published online.[26]

At the end of May 2011, Brons announced that he would be seeking nomination for the leadership of the British National Party in an internal election which would have been held in the autumn. Following constitutional changes rushed through by Griffin, the leadership election was brought forward to the summer. Brons was narrowly defeated, receiving 1,148 votes to Griffin's 1,157 [27][28]

Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber

On entering the European Parliament Brons and his fellow BNP MEP Nick Griffin have been heavily critical of any legislation current and pending which has been designed to reduce the national sovereignty and independence of member states or has had a negative impact upon Britain and the British People as a consequence. A member of the Constitutional Affairs Committee[29] and a substitute for the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee[30] Brons has, up to 1 December 2010, made seventy-eight speeches in plenary sessions.[31] He has also submitted twenty-seven written questions to the Parliament.[32]

Committee on Croatia

On entering the European Parliament Brons was designated to the Delegation to the EU-Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee[33] this being a joint delegation to create dialogue with the Croatian Parliament as a candidate country. On 29/30 March 2010 the delegation along with Brons met in Zagreb,[34] Brons spoke in the Croatian Parliament on the state of play of the accession negotiations and EU-Croatia relations in the presence of representatives of the Croatian Government. He went on to say:

"I am sometimes seen as somebody who exaggerates when I say that Croatia is about to surrender its independence so I shall let the Croatian people make that judgment. Unfortunately, they have not yet been consulted directly. I just hope that that consultation will be carried out freely and fairly. However, I note that the rules for referendums in the Constitution, the goal posts if you like, are being changed to facilitate a 'Yes vote'."

Although having, made a direct speech as a warning to the Croatian Parliament, Brons ended with an abstention in voting to continue negotiations. He justified this by stating:

"I should like my abstention to be placed on record. I shall not vote against Croatia's accession because that might imply that I have some right to act on behalf of Croatian opponents of accession, when I clearly have no such right. The Croatian people must decide for themselves. Furthermore, It might imply that I am somehow hostile to Croatia, when I am emphatically not hostile."

The remaining members of the Committee voted unanimously in favour.

On 30 November 2010, Brons again spoke of the negative impact that EU accession would have on the Croatian People, this time in the European Parliament. He used the opportunity to express his concerns over the double standards of the EU in relation to the Lisbon Treaty; he also questioned member states governments' and media impartiality regarding the EU Question,[35] saying:

"The referendum on accession must be free, fair and final. The debate must be conducted with full participation and media coverage for both sides of the debate. I do not want to prejudge the Croatian media but our experience in the UK in 1975 was that there was complete media support for EEC membership and a deluge of propaganda in favour of (continued) membership."

Elections contested

UK Parliament elections

Date of election Constituency Party Votes  % Ref
Feb 1974 Harrogate NF 1,186 2.3
Oct 1974 Harrogate NF 1,030 2.3
1977 by-election Birmingham Stechford NF 2,995 8.2
1979 Bradford North NF 614 1.3
1983 Leeds East NF 475 1.1
2010 Keighley BNP 1,962 4.1 [24]

European Parliament elections

Date of election Region Party Votes  % Result Ref
2009 Yorkshire and the Humber BNP 120,139 9.8 Elected [36]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Daily Telegraph, 9 June 2009, European elections 2009: BNP Andrew Brons profile
  2. 2.0 2.1 Andrew Brons MEP | Biography. Andrewbrons.eu. Retrieved on 2010-05-08.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Fiona Hamilton, "Anti-BNP movement split over tactics after Nick Griffin egg protest", The Times 13 June 2009
  4. Lazenby, Peter (June 8, 2009). "BNP wins Yorkshire Euro seat". Yorkshire Post. http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/BNP-wins-Yorkshire-Euro-seat.5343062.jp. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jerome Taylor, "Andrew Brons: The quiet academic with a 'silly' teenage National-Socialist past", The Independent, 9 June 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
  6. "Lib Dem by-election loser Dominic Carman's attack on Barnsley". BBC. 9 March 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12690419. 
  7. Brons, Andrew (Thu, 10/03/2011). "Statement from Andrew Brons MEP". www.andrewbronsmep.eu. http://www.andrewbronsmep.eu/?q=content/statement-andrew-brons-mep. 
  8. S. Taylor, The National Front in English Politics, London: Macmillan, 1982, p. 62.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Duncan Campbell, 'Andrew Brons, the genteel face of neo-fascism', The Guardian 8 June 2009
  10. "1977: Jenkins quits Commons for Brussels". BBC News. 3 January 1977. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/3/newsid_3287000/3287511.stm. 
  11. 1977 By Election Results at by-elections.co.uk, accesssed 18 December 2011
  12. N. Copsey, Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, p.33
  13. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named obs140609
  14. Beating the Brons Brigade. Searchlight Magazine. Retrieved on 2010-05-08.
  15. EXPOSED: BNP man's past - Harrogate Today. Harrogateadvertiser.net. Retrieved on 2009-08-17.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Smithard, Tom (June 3, 2009). "Controversy over abuse conviction of BNP candidate". Yorkshire Post. http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/Controversy-over-abuse-conviction-of.5329019.jp. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  17. N. Copsey, Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, p. 35
  18. Terrified Brons quits as Front chairman. Searchlight Magazine. Retrieved on 2010-05-08.
  19. N. Copsey, Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, p37
  20. N. Copsey, Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, pp36-8
  21. 21.0 21.1 Andrew Brons. British National Party (March 4, 2009). Retrieved on 2009-06-08. [dead link]
  22. See, for example, "Something New to Worry Liberals", Identity, November 2007 and "The Elusive Causes of Gun & Knife Crime", Identity, October 2008
  23. Andrew stands for the British National Party in Keighley | Andrew Brons MEP. Andrewbrons.eu (2010-04-16). Retrieved on 2010-05-08.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 "UK > England > Yorkshire & the Humber > Keighley". Election 2010 (BBC). 7 May 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/election2010/results/constituency/c39.stm. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  25. http://www.andrewbronsmep.eu/?q=content/andrew-brons-invited-carry-out-consultation-membership-about-constitutional-changes
  26. British National Party Constitutional Consultation.
  27. "Nick Griffin re-elected BNP leader ahead of Andrew Brons". BBC News. 25 July 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-14286110. 
  28. BNP Bear Fight, Searchlight magazine, August 2011.
  29. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/committees/homeCom.do?language=EN&body=AFCO
  30. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/committees/homeCom.do?language=EN&body=LIBE
  31. Parliamentref>http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sidesSearch/search.do?type=CRE&term=7&author=96749&language=EN&startValue=0
  32. ,http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sidesSearch/search.do?type=QP&language=EN&term=7&author=96749
  33. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/delegations/homeDel.do?language=EN&body=D-HR
  34. http://www.andrewbronsmep.eu/?q=content/andrew-part-delegation-visiting-croatia
  35. http://www.andrewbronsmep.eu/?q=content/leave-debate-croats
  36. European Election 2009: Yorkshire and Humber, news.bbc.co.uk, 2009-06-08, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/elections/euro/09/html/ukregion_38.stm, retrieved 2010-03-10 

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