About the Legion
11 September 2009
The Royal British Legion is strictly non-political and for nearly 90 years we have scrupulously remained above the party political fray. We have never endorsed any political party nor do we accept party donations made for partisan purposes.
We do not accept donations made for political PR purposes, or donations made on behalf of the BNP or any other political party.
In the Huddersfield case, a woman approached the Legion with the offer of raising funds for us while also raising funds for the BNP. After initially refusing to accept the donation, we were assured by her that this donation was being made independently of her support of the BNP and would not be used for partisan political activity. We accepted this explanation, which we still believe to be the case.
The Legion's insistence on independence from any political party, including the BNP, is clear. We recently asked all party political leaders to refrain from using the Poppy or other symbols of Remembrance for political purposes during the European election campaign - all of them complied with this request, with the exception of BNP leader Nick Griffin.
Having made the request privately, the Legion then repeated its request publicly, with an open letter placed in The Guardian asking Mr Griffin to refrain from politicising the Poppy.
"The Poppy is the symbol of sacrifices made by British Armed Forces in conflicts both past and present and it has been paid for with blood and valour," it said. "True valour deserves respect regardless of a person's ethnic origin, and everyone who serves or has served their country deserves nothing less."
Despite this, Mr Griffin has refused to comply and continues to politicise the Poppy pin in direct contravention of the Legion's request.
It is unfortunate that the Legion once again finds itself defending its reputation from being identified with political interests. Our only interest is safeguarding the welfare, interests and memory of the British Armed Forces past and present, and their families.