A British National Party candidate won just 37 votes in a by-election in Redbridge, east London. Anthony Young, a retired solicitor, came last out of four candidates, with 1.4%, in Cranbrook ward in the south of the borough, which borders onto Barking and Dagenham, where the BNP has 12 councillors.
In the days before the election on 10 July, Redbridge and Epping Forest Together distributed a leaflet to most of the ward telling voters the truth about the BNP and urging them to use their vote to “keep extremists out of Redbridge”. The leaflet received praise from the three main parties, who all mounted active campaigns.
BNP support in Cranbrook was so low that the party had great difficulty finding ten people to sign the nomination form. From the addresses it was clear the BNP had gone down three neighbouring streets knocking on doors of registered electors with English-sounding names. We have so far not been able to investigate an allegation that three of them thought they were signing a petition rather than a nomination form.
The BNP did little better in two other by-elections on 10 July. In Wigan West, where the BNP was hoping to increase its share of the vote from the 14.5% polled in May, Christopher Hilton’s 200 votes gave him only 9.4% and fourth place. In Dalton ward, Kirklees, a borough where in May 2007 the BNP had three councillors, Jonathan Wright managed only 4.5% with 157 votes, coming fourth out of six candidates. Again the BNP had hoped to improve on Wright’s 460 votes in May, which gave him 10.7%.
The BNP now has only one councillor in Kirklees after David Exley lost his seat in May and Colin Auty announced this week that he was leaving the BNP and will sit as an independent. Auty, who failed to collect enough signatures last month to challenge Nick Griffin for the BNP leadership, says he will resign his council seat next month, causing a by-election.
Auty's resignation from the BNP leaves the party with only 54 councillors nationally.
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