BNP wins 16% of vote in lo­cal elec­tion

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY BERNARD JOSEPHS

A CALL by the far-right Bri­tish Na­tional Party for a coun­cil by-elec­tion in Hert­ford­shire back­fired last Thurs­day when its can­di­date was trounced by both the Tories and the Lib­eral Democrats.

How­ever, as sup­port for Labour evap­o­rated, the BNP took more than 16 per cent of the vote, sound­ing a warn­ing to anti-racists that it may be on tar­get for five per cent of the Lon­don-wide vote needed to win a seat in the Lon­don As­sem­bly elec­tions.

The party’s can­di­date, Mark Fuller, trig­gered the elec­tion, at Welham Green ward in Wel­wyn Hat­field, by per­suad­ing lo­cal peo­ple to write to the coun­cil call­ing for a vote to fill a seat left va­cant by Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor Peter O’Brien. He had re­signed over child-pornog­ra­phy al­le­ga­tions.

The re­sults showed that the Tories were still pop­u­lar, scor­ing 539 votes, fol­lowed by the Lib­eral Democrats with 484 and the BNP third with 214. Labour trailed with just 88 votes.

The BNP faced ac­cu­sa­tions by lo­cal Tory MP Grant Shapps of wast­ing pub­lic money by de­mand­ing an “un­nec­es­sary elec­tion”.

Mr Shapps said: “We have lo­cal elec­tions in four months’ time, so I can’t un­der­stand why the BNP should have forced this poll, which has cost thou­sands of pounds. There are other coun­cil­lors in this area so the peo­ple are not un­der-rep­re­sented.”

The MP told the JC: “It shows that when the main­stream par­ties cam­paign on the true in­ter­ests of the pub­lic, then fringe and ex­trem­ist par­ties are de­feated.” But a spokesman for the BNP, which has re­cently been dam­aged by re­ported splits be­tween its leader Nick Grif­fin and sev­eral se­nior rank-and-file mem­bers, de­scribed its 16.2 per cent share of the poll as “bril­liant”.

Gerry Gable, pub­lisher of Search­light, the anti-fas­cist mag­a­zine, said that the BNP vote was the re­sult of a de­ter­mined cam­paign in which the party had “bussed in” large num­bers of can­vassers. It was also leaflet­ing and can­vass­ing in the cap­i­tal ahead of May’s Lon­don As­sem­bly and may­oral elec­tions.

Search­light, Hope Not Hate and other anti-BNP groups are to host a meet­ing in Par­lia­ment next week as part of their cam­paign to head off the BNP. The main speaker is to be Jon Crud­das, Labour MP for Da­gen­ham, where there are 12 BNP coun­cil­lors on Bark­ing and Da­gen­ham Coun­cil.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.