FORMER BNP politician turned art teacher Richard Barnbrook has hit a setback in his legal action against Bournemouth and Poole College.

Mr Barnbrook had claimed unfair dismissal and discrimination on the basis of belief after his services as an agency worker were dispensed with by the college in October last year, having been reported in the Daily Echo.

He claims he was discriminated against due to his history with the British National Party, of which he was a member until 2010, and leader of the BNP group on Barking and Dagenham council for two years. He retired from politics in 2012 after two years as an independent.

At an employment tribunal pre-hearing in Southampton, Judge Maxwell threw out his first claim, after he conceded he was not an employee of the college, only an agency worker.

Representing Mr Barnbrook, Patrick Harrington, general secretary of the union Solidarity, argued that the same protective legislation should apply to agency workers, but this was dismissed.

At the hearing, Mr Barnbrook described himself as "democratic nationalist" who believed "mankind naturally separates into nations", and who still held the same views, although he said they had often been at odds with the BNP manifesto.

According to the court judgement, the college claimed that Mr Barnbrook's beliefs were "not worthy of respect in a democratic society, not compatible with human dignity and in conflict with the fundamental rights of others".

Asked why he had not repudiated the BNP's policies or agenda in his claim form, Mr Barnbrook had said he "didn’t think it was relevant", before referring to his own Jewish descent saying had no concern about anyone's “colour, creed or religion” only that people “follow the culture and identity of the nation”.

He denied having sought to "cloak" or "conceal" racist views, and Mr Harrington pointed out that the BNP was not an illegal party, and said his client should not have "the mark of Cain" upon him because he was once a member.

In his judgement, Judge Maxwell said: "An employment tribunal may doubt the claimant’s evidence that he joined the party and rose to the position he did (whether labelled

‘senior' or not) without knowing its constitution and policy platform included hostility to racial integration and non-white immigration, along with a wish to restore a white Britain."

He said Mr Barnbrook's beliefs seemed to have outlasted his days with the party, and ordered that he must pay a £100 'deposit' should he wish to pursue the second claim as it had "little reasonable prospect" of success.

Mr Harrington said his client would be seeking reviews of both the judgement on unfair dismissal and the requirement for a deposit to pursue the second claim.

He said arguing that Mr Barnbrook's views were not worthy of respect was a "divisive" and "legally untenable position", and the union would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.