British National Party loses all seats in Barking & Dagenham after elections

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

BNP leader Nick Griffin
Image: Mrmurrey.
Unite Against Fascism rallies against the BNP in 2009
Image: James M Thorne.

The British National Party (BNP) has lost all 12 of its councilors in Barking & Dagenham, London in local elections. The new local council will be composed entirely of councillors from the Labour Party, with no BNP candidate placing higher than fourth in any of the authority's 13 wards.

Before the election, it had been considered possible that the BNP might control Barking & Dagenham Council, giving the party, which believes that immigrants, Muslims and non-whites represent a threat to the United Kingdom, control of a local authority for the first time in its history. The BNP has played the role of official opposition in Barking & Dagenham since 2006. The BNP has no MPs but party leader Nick Griffin, as well as party member Andrew Brons, represent regions of northern England in the European Parliament.

Griffin also failed in his attempt to unseat Margaret Hodge in the UK general election in Barking, his party losing support in Barking compared to the 2005 general election.

Many anti-far right groups such as Unite Against Fascism, Searchlight and Hope Not Hate had been involved in campaigning in Barking & Dagenham, with marches, rallies and door-to-door canvassing taking place daily in the lead-up to the election. A spokesman for the Youth Fight For Jobs campaign, which organised a march against both Nick Griffin and Margaret Hodge in Barking, said of the defeat of the BNP: "I think it shows the value of campaigning work and spreading a positive alternative. The danger of the BNP is still there and so we need to continue campaigning and putting forward a positive alternative."

The BNP also suffered from internal dissent late in the election, with its former webmaster launching a scathing attack on the party's internal operations and accusing it of corruption the day before voting booths opened. The party's finances are also under investigation by the Electoral Commission.


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