Nick Griffin concedes defeat, although final count is yet to be announced [at 6am]
It seems that BNP leader Nick Griffin has failed to win a seat in Barking, east London. Simon Darby, standing for the party in Stoke-on-Trent Central, also appears to have lost out. These are among a host of failures for the far-right party tonight (it fielded a record number of candidates), but these two seats were the setting for high-profile campaigns, which the party believed it could win.
The candidates conceded defeat before the final results were in. The leader of the far-right party, who is already a Member of the European Parliament, said at 2am: "I'm being realistic. Margaret Hodge is clearly going to hold the seat". In an interview on BBC Radio Stoke, Simon Darby was negative about his prospects, and complained that the leaders' debates disadvantaged smaller parties.
To put it lightly, this is a relief. The BNP's campaign has been one beset by violence (perhaps not at every turn, before BNP supporters rail upon this blog to refute the claims), but they can certainly claim more bust-ups and physical fights than any other political party. But to a large extent, the extremist politics of the party have dictated the perameters of the mainstream debate on immigration, and it is vital to reclaim it from this malignant influence.
5.30am: The final results are through for Stoke Central.
The BNP came third (behind the three main parties), with 7.7 per cent of the vote. This is way behind the Conservatives, who came third with 21 per cent. 2,502 people voted for Darby -- 0.1 per cent more than voted for the BNP last year. It's a very slight increase, but it is not a percentage that we need to worry about.
Final results for Barking have yet to be announced.