Labour won a council by-election after fighting off a strong challenge from the BNP campaigning for "British jobs for British workers".
The far-right party was beaten into second place last night with 889 votes behind Labour on 1,379 votes in the Newton Hyde ward by-election for a seat on Tameside Council in Greater Manchester. The Tories came in third with 485 votes on a turnout of 32%.
Both Labour and the BNP had campaigned hard over the last month, but last night Labour increased its majority over the BNP in the ward since the last local elections in May.
James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Minister and MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, accompanied successful Labour candidate Phillip Fitzpatrick to the count at Dukinfield Town Hall. Mr Purnell, who helped launch Labour's campaign, said: "I think it 's a victory for hope and solidarity over people who want to bring division and hatred."
Mr Fitzpatrick said: "I am absolutely delighted. The people of Newton have voted for a Labour candidate because they don't want the BNP. They are not wanted."
In last May`s local elections in the Newton ward, the BNP polled 846 votes, just 278 votes behind Labour on 1124, on a 33.3% turnout. But with the recession biting and the BNP campaigning on a "British jobs for British workers" ticket, the poll was expected to be close. A BNP victory would have given the party its first foothold in Greater Manchester.
Hyde is predominantly white and working class with a tradition of large manufacturing firms based in the area. It also has a small Asian community.
The local campaign saw Hyde`s church leaders issuing a joint statement telling people to vote for parties that "do not foster fear and hatred". Unions and anti-fascist groups also ran campaigns with a message to "Keep the BNP out."
Rosalind Gauci, the BNP candidate said: "I don't think it has been a fair election, I don't think it has been a clean one. They should not have used USDAW and Searchlight, the extreme left of Labour. They have tried to kill us off."
The BNP last gained a council seat on November 13 last year in the Fenside ward of Boston Borough Council. And last month it narrowly missed winning a seat by just eight votes in the East Wickham ward of Bexley Borough, south east London.
The by-election in Hyde followed the death of Labour councillor Margaret Oldham last month.
The other candidates and their results were; Peter Ball-Foster (Liberal Democrats), 172, Angela McManus (UK Independence Party), 33, Nigel Rolland (Green Party), 69, and John Welsh (Conservative), 485.