Re­lief as ex­trem­ists fail to make big gains

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DANA GLOGER AND BERNARD JOSEPHS

THE BRI­TISH Na­tional Party won one seat on the Lon­don As­sem­bly in last week’s elec­tions, but did not make the large-scale gains na­tion­ally or in the cap­i­tal that some had feared.

Richard Barn­brook, 47, the party’s may­oral can­di­date, took 5.3 per cent of the vote, giv­ing him a seat on the as­sem­bly. Can­di­dates needed five per cent of the over­all vote to win a seat.

There had been fears that the BNP could win two or even three seats on the Lon­don As­sem­bly.

In the lo­cal elec­tions, the party polled around 252,233 votes but only gained 10 ex­tra coun­cil­lors, al­though they fielded around 650 can­di­dates across the coun­try. They won an ex­tra 13 wards, but lost three ex­ist­ing coun­cil­lors.

Their gains in­cluded three ex­tra coun­cil­lors in Stoke-on-Trent, one in Am­ber Val­ley, an­other in Rother­ham and gains in Thur­rock, Three Rivers, Pen­dle, Calderdale, Nuneaton & Bed­worth.

The party held on to seats in Burn­ley and Ep­ping For­est, though it also lost two seats in the lat­ter and did not make any gains in Wales.

Pat Richard­son, the BNP’s only Jewish coun­cil­lor, blamed the Board of Deputies and anti-fas­cist mag­a­zine Search­light for her party’s poor per­for­mance in Ep­ping For­est.

The Loughton Broad­way coun­cil- lor said: “Faith groups, in­clud­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion Churches To­gether, the Board of Deputies and Search­light, leafleted the area claim­ing that we are racists.

“We got a lot of abuse from peo­ple, many of whom do not even live in this area.”

Mrs Richard­son added that she saw no con­flict be­tween be­ing Jewish and be­ing a mem­ber of the BNP.

“We have Jewish sup­port­ers around and about and I am not the first BNP can­di­date who is Jewish. There was one sev­eral years ago,” she said.

The BNP now has 55 coun­cil­lors across Eng­land and Wales. The party’s deputy leader Si­mon Darby said he felt “very pos­i­tive” about the elec­tion re­sults.

Ruth Smeeth, of the Com­mu­nity Se­cu­rity Trust, who helped co-or­di­nate the JC- sup­ported Hope not Hate cam­paign urg­ing peo­ple to go to the polls in or­der to stop the BNP mak­ing gains, said that she felt more Jewish peo­ple had cast their vote this year.

“Turnout was up in many of the ar­eas where Jews live, and in Kirklees, where the BNP lost a seat, we had specif­i­cally asked Jewish peo­ple to cast their votes. I think the cam­paign re­ally helped,” said Ms Smeeth.

Henry Grun­wald, pres­i­dent of the Board, said that Jewish vot­ers had heeded the mes­sage to vote. “I can’t re­mem­ber a time when the com­mu­nity re­sponded as well as it did on a do­mes­tic is­sue,” he said.

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