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The National Party

A fiery and harrowing investigation into the rise of the far-right in Blackburn

Current affairs 1976 26 mins


This harrowing report for Granada TV's World in Action traces the rise of the National Party in Blackburn, in the midst of a surge in support for the far right across Britain. The investigation by Claudia Milne (twin sister of TV writer Paula) and Geoffrey Seed exposes the violence and intimidation incited by chairman , John Kingsley Read (who formed the party after losing control of the National Front), and its impact on Blackburn's Indian and Pakistani communities.

A one-time Conservative who chaired the National Front (NF) from 1974 to 1975, Read formed the National Party after an acrimonious split in the NF. 1976 was the new party's peak, with Read one of two candidates elected to Blackburn district council in May. In January 1977 he was tried for incitement to racial hatred but controversially acquitted in a case that raised questions about judicial attitudes to racism. But the party's fortunes soon waned, and Read ultimately distanced himself from the far right and rejoined the Conservative Party.