Born in Barnet, Griffin was educated at Woodbridge School in Suffolk. He joined the National Front at the age of fourteen and, following his graduation from the University of Cambridge, became a political worker for the party. In 1980 he became a member of its governing body, and later wrote articles for several right-wing magazines. He was the National Front's candidate for the seat of Croydon North West in 1981 and 1983, but left the party in 1989. In 1995 he joined the BNP and in 1999, became its leader. He stood as the party's candidate in several elections and was elected as a member of the European Parliament for North West England in the 2009 European Elections.
In 1998, Griffin was convicted of distributing material likely to incite racial hatred, for which he received a suspended prison sentence. In 2006, he was acquitted of separate charges of inciting racial hatred. Griffin has been criticised for many of his comments on political, social, ethical and religious matters, though since becoming leader of the BNP he has sought to distance himself from some of his previously-held positions, which include Holocaust denial. In recent years, where Griffin has been invited to participate in public debates or political discussions, the events have proven controversial, and have often resulted in protests and cancellations.
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