The British National Party’s first two Euro-MPs are finding it increasingly hard to win friends and influence people in Europe.
BNP leader Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons both won seats in the euro-elections – and so far they have chalked up three notable rebuffs.
First, they were unable to muster enough allies to form an official political grouping in the European Parliament, which begins work next week.
Then they were asked to leave one of the main drinking haunts of European Parliament staff and Euro-MPs in Brussels.
And now they find they are not on the Government’s guest list for a formal drinks party for British Euro-MPs in Strasbourg next week.
The news comes amid Mr Griffin’s revelation this week that the EU should sink all boats carrying illegal immigrants from Africa.
He added: “Europe has sooner or later to close its borders or it is simply going to be swamped by the Third World.”
The pair are still trying to form workable political alliances with other right-wing Euro-MPs, but they seem unlikely to muster the necessary minimum of 25 Euro-MPs from at least seven member states which would trigger substantial funding for staff, as well as improve prospects of influential committee seats and speaking time in the European Parliament chamber.
After one recent visit to the European Parliament’s Brussels headquarters searching for political bedfellows, Mr Griffin, Euro-MP for the North-West, went to near-by O’Farrell’s bar, where he sat at a table outside to be served.
Soon afterwards, he was asked to leave. According to another drinker on the premises at the time: “He was sitting quietly outside and then he was recognised and he was told he wasn’t welcome.”
The same bar is one of the regular watering holes of UK Independence Party leader and Euro-MP Nigel Farage, who is trying to put as much political distance between his party and the BNP as possible.
The third and latest snub for the democratically-elected BNP duo has come from the Government, which has left Mr Griffin and Mr Brons off the invitation list for a cocktail reception in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
A Government spokesman explained the decision was part of established policy towards elected extremists, even though they are accorded the same basic Government facilities as other elected individuals.
He said: “The same general principles governing official impartiality apply in the European Parliament as they do for Westminster groups and MPs.
“UK Government officials will provide all Euro-MPs with standard written briefings as appropriate from time to time, for example on the Euro-MPs’ Statute, with no differentiation.
“British and other MEPs can also be provided with factual written briefing on specific policy issues upon request, again with no differentiation.
“However, the long-standing policy of the Government is that officials will not engage in any other contact with elected representatives of any nationality who represent extremist or racist views, unless specific permission has been granted to do so on a particular occasion from the FCO Permanent Under-Secretary and the Minister for Europe.
“On the basis of this policy, Euro-MPs representing the British National Party are not invited to the reception on Wednesday. United Kingdom Independence Party Euro-MPs have been invited.”
The BNP advocates British withdrawal from the European Union and an end to all immigration to the UK.