Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Family Battles to Claw Back Donation to BNP

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Family Battles to Claw Back Donation to BNP

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Davies Reporter

THE family of a Northumberland man who donated his entire PS389,000 estate to the British National Party have launched a legal battle to claw back the cash.

Joseph Robson, 81, of Ashington, died in Alicante in March 2010 and gave his entire estate outside Spain to the BNP, leaving his two sons, Jeremy and Simon, with just PS135 between them.

Now his sons say that their dad was barred from giving money to a British political party, because he had not been a registered UK voter in the five years before his death. But the BNP, represented by party treasurer Clive Jefferson, is battling against the sons' call.

In a hearing in the High Court Patrick Harrington, who is now a key adviser to party leader, Nick Griffin, said it would be "utterly unjust" for the party to be stripped of Mr Robson's bequest.

He said: "One son was given nothing and the other was give less than PS150. It seems pretty clear that the father didn't want the bulk of his estate to go to his two sons - he wanted it to go to a political party.

Mr Robson had every right to be on the electoral register but, for whatever reason, he was unaware of the provision that he had to be. The pathway can never lead to the sons, that can never happen."

Mr Robson was born in 1928 before moving to Lutterworth, in Leicestershire, when he divorced from Jeremy and Simon's mum. Following his retirement he moved to Alicante.

He made a will in 1996, leaving all his worldly goods to the BNP, apart from a Spanish bank account containing just PS135 to Jeremy. But the BNP ran into trouble when it tried to lay hands on the gift when the sons claimed he was not legally permitted to make the political donation. Barrister Alex Troup, representing the executor of the will, told Judge Richard Sheldon QC that the sons claim Mr Robson failed to register on the UK electoral roll at any time during the five years prior to his death.

That meant that, under rules introduced by Tony Blair's Labour Government in 2000 to curb "foreign donations" to British political parties, the ex-pat was not entitled to make the gift, whether dead or alive. …

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