BNP link rocks institute of architects

Matt Weaver
Thursday June 15, 2006

A member of the British National Party is campaigning to become
president of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Peter Phillips, who is a member of the institute's governing council, is
running for the high-profile post of president after getting the
necessary backing from 60 fellow architects.

But today he faces a call for his expulsion from the institute after he
admitted last night at an election meeting that he is a member of the BNP.
Mr Prasad added: "To propagate its repellent views the BNP leeches on
the very real grievances of white communities that our political system
neglects. The RIBA has members who feel alienated from 'the system' and
bullied by bureaucracy.

"I respect their right to decide for themselves whether Peter Phillips
is likely to guide the RIBA to effective answers to their problems, or
exactly, and destructively, in the opposite direction, like the BNP."

He said that Mr Phillips's views were shared only by a "miniscule
minority" of the profession.

Mr Philips has yet to respond.

The six-week presidential ballot began on Monday. The winner, who will
serve as president from 2007 to 2009, will be announced on July 26.

In a statement the RIBA attempted to distance itself from Mr Phillips:
"The RIBA values the contribution to architecture and society by people
of diverse origins and backgrounds, and is firmly committed to equality
of opportunity.

"The views that the candidates express in their election campaigns will
not necessarily represent the position of the RIBA as an Institute, nor
the views of its wider membership."

RIBA Presidential candidate Peter Phillips has confirmed that he is a
member of the British National Party, BD can reveal.

By Ellen Bennett

Phillips made a statement at last night's presidential hustings
confirming he has been a member of the right-wing party for five years,
and has stood as a BNP candidate in elections.

He will shortly be issuing a statement on his website with more details.

RIBA president Jack Pringle said he was "shocked but not surprised by
the revelation.

"To find out a member of RIBA Council has been a member of a legal but
extremist party is really worrying," he said.

Phillips had already caused a stir in the presidential race by
suggesting that pressure groups should not have special access to or be
funded by the RIBA. Fellow candidate Sunand Prasad said he found the
views of the BNP "abhorrent". He added: "They say they are not racist
but it's a party based on racial purity and racial separateness, and
their views are entirely abhorrent to the majority of people who want a
better world."

Both Pringle and Prasad stopped short of calling on Phillips to stand
down from the election, saying the BNP was a legal party and it was up
to the electorate to decide.

"It's good that he has come clean," said Pringle, "and there's no
question of him being disqualified from running. But it's important the
electorate understand the context in which his views are held."

The third candidate, Valerie Owen, declined to comment, saying only:
"The institute is apolitical which is exactly as it should be given its
international status."