A BNP member has quit to set up a new political group in Stoke-on-Trent.
Craig Pond has formed the Potteries Community Federation (PCF) after resigning as the BNP's Stoke branch secretary and policy group chairman. The 45-year-old, of Chell Heath, who stood for election for the far-right party last year, has been joined by fellow ex-BNP figures, Sam Tunstall and Terence Cope. But he said his new group also includes former Labour supporters on its fledgling membership list.
Mr Pond said the PCF will be independent in its political outlook, and will focus on devising commonsense policies to improve the city. He said: "We will be unique in the city, and possibly even in the country, in that we will be based around a political think-tank. There are some very politically savvy people in Stoke-on-Trent who are sitting around doing nothing, and we want to bring them together. In this city, you have to choose between supporting the Labour/Tory/Lib Dem coalition at one end, or the BNP at the other, but we aim to fit squarely between the two."
Mr Pond said he felt the BNP had become "stigmatised" by its views and actions, and was reluctant to develop effective local policies.
He admitted that some voters may be put off by his former BNP ties. But he said he was confident his new party would be able to mount an effective campaign for council seats in the next local elections.