"Passionate, intense and at times heated" – that's how one person described the General Members’ Meeting held on Sunday.
There were strong, articulate speakers on either side of the debate. Meeting Chairman Geoff Dickens did a tremendous job and saw that everyone was given the chance to put his or her points over. The meeting room was packed and hundreds sent in proxy forms to indicate their voting choices or allow an appointed official discretion as to how to cast their vote.
Party administrators worked late into the night prior to the meeting to ensure that all proxies were properly recorded. The envelopes were opened by the Advisory Council in a filmed and witnessed procedure.
So why was there such strong interest in this meeting? On the table were proposals which would fundamentally change the way in which the British National Party is run, how the Leader is elected and the balance of power between different structures in the party.
Here is a summary of the results:
There will be a consultation on the non-write-protected parts of the Constitution. This will consist of the National Chairman, two legal advisors and three members of the AC/National Executive.
A contract between the Party and candidates for office demanding high standards and discipline from them was made compulsory.
The Chairman of the Party will be elected for a fixed period of four years.
The National Executive shall have the power by a two-thirds’ vote to call a leadership election.
The National Executive will consist of the National Chairman (directly elected by members), six positions appointed by the National Chairman, one Councillor Representative (elected by Councillors) and eleven Regional Organisers (elected by delegates from Branches and Groups).
The National Executive will create a committee to deal with disciplinary matters. Appeals will be heard by the full Executive.
The National Executive will elect three of its members to serve on a Financial Scrutiny Committee (as part of our transparency drive, excluding the Party Chairman, Treasurer or Deputy Treasurer) to look at financial records and make reports.
Elected members of the National Executive may only be removed by a majority vote of the National Executive. Forty-eight hours’ prior notice must be given of any such motion.
Delegates held a one-minute silence in memory of Valerie Tyndall, who had passed away recently.
Geoff Dickens thanked Sue Whitby and the Liverpool ladies for the buffet. A collection for the British Veterans Group raised £189.
Following the GMM, a Founder Members’ meeting and Voting Members’ meeting were held separately. Both meetings ratified the motions and amendments carried at the GMM, by a large majority at the Founders’ meeting and unanimously at the Voting Members’ meeting.
You can see a video report of the GMM on British National Party Television here.