A barrister who is standing in the General Election as a BNP candidate has resigned from his Birmingham chambers.
Robert Grierson, who is contesting Sutton Coldfield, currently held by Conservative Andrew Mitchell with a majority of 12,000, has claimed he is not a racist.
But he has resigned his tenancy with St Philips Chambers, in Birmingham city centre, and his former colleagues have issued a statement distancing themselves from his controversial views.
St Philips Chambers head, James Burbidge QC, said: “Robert Grierson has resigned from his position as a door tenant of St Philips Chambers from March 25.
“He accepted that his candidacy in the forthcoming election was a distraction to the proper work and approach of St Philips Chambers, its members and its staff.
“As far as St Philips Chambers is aware Mr Grierson remains in practice as a barrister as a sole practitioner from his home address, which has in fact been the position since December 2008.
“It is reiterated that St Philips Chambers was not aware that Mr Grierson was a member of the BNP and further that any views Mr Grierson purports to hold or express in the forthcoming election must be taken to be his own personal views and not that of St Philips Chambers or any of its members.
“Apparently he joined the BNP in September 2009, a significant time after ceasing to be a member of chambers.”
Mr Grierson, who has been a barrister for 18 years specialising in tax, trust, wills and estates work, said he would practice from his Four Oaks home after news of his controversial decision to stand for the BNP was revealed in the Birmingham Post.
He said he gave up his door tenancy because he wanted to “make life easier” for other barristers at the Chambers.
His decision to stand for the BNP, heavily criticised for being racist and extremist, was slammed by Andrew Mitchell and his rival Labour candidate Rob Pocock.
Mr Grierson was born in Witton and educated at King Edward’s School before attending Downing College Cambridge, the same as BNP leader Nick Griffin.
The 42-year-old, who has been a barrister in Birmingham since 1999, added: “It is not about racism, it is about making sure that in the medium to long term we are not a minority in our country. It’s just a bunch of British people who do not want to end up as a minority in their own homeland.
“The reason I am standing in Sutton Coldfield is because that is where I live. I only joined the party in September, but I have been an interested observer and I have followed the BNP website for a couple of years.
“I decided I wanted to stand up. When the party started allowing non-white members I became more comfortable in joining the party.
“It’s clear that people in Sutton Coldfield are concerned about immigration and I think we need a total stop on immigration.
“There is no overlap between what I do for a living and my political interests. I don’t accept that I am in the wrong, but I decided to give up my tenancy at St Philips Chambers to make life easier.
“There can be very strong views against the BNP and I thought that leaving the Chambers would make life more harmonious for everybody.”
The constituency’s Conservative MP, Andrew Mitchell, has urged his electorate to shun the “completely unacceptable views” of Mr Grierson and the
Mr Mitchell said: “I very much doubt that the voters of Sutton Coldfield will have much truck with this racist nonsense.
“Just because people have a degree and carry a briefcase doesn’t mean they’re not bigoted.”