Britain’s far right and notoriously racist British National Party (BNP) was on Thursday forced to agree to open up its membership to ethnic minorities after the Equality and Human Rights Commission took it to court on grounds that its existing all-white-membership policy was in breach of the Race Relations Act.

The Central London County Court, which heard the case, was told that BNP leader Nick Griffin had agreed to make “all reasonable endeavours” to change the party’s constitution so that non-whites were not discriminated.

Robin Allen, counsel for the Commission, said Mr. Griffin had also agreed not to admit new members until the constitution was revised to purge it of its racist rules.

John Wadham, legal spokesman for the Commission, said it was “unfortunate” that the party had taken so long to fall in line with the country’s race laws.

“Political parties, like any other organisation, are obliged to respect the law and not discriminate against people. It is unfortunate the BNP spent several months before conceding and dealing properly with our legal requirements. We will be monitoring the BNP's compliance with this court order on membership, and its other legal obligations, including to its constituents,” he said.

The move came as anti-fascist groups protested against the BBC’s decision to invite Mr. Griffin to appear on its prestigious Question Time programme next week arguing that it would give legitimacy to BNP’s racist agenda.

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