2 May 2008

BNP set to falter in bid to clinch 40 more seats

The British National party performed worse than it expected in overnight election results despite gains in the Midlands, northern England and Essex.

It gained eight seats but appeared to be falling well short of its leaders' target of 40 new councillors with 100 of 159 councils declared. It may still make gains in the London assembly elections due to declare later.

Despite the collapse of Labour's support, early indications show the BNP's share of the vote fell in the wards they contested. In Sandwell in the Midlands, where they secured 33% of the vote two years ago, they got 17% this time.

"In the party's heartlands, it looks as though the share of the vote has dropped which, with the backdrop of Labour's performance, is encouraging," said Nick Lowles from the anti-racist organisation, Searchlight.

"And although there have been eight gains so far that is below what they were predicting, especially in places where they have stood before."

The number of BNP councillors is expected to increase during the day as results come in from councils such as Stoke and in Yorkshire and north-west England.

The BNP leadership says it expects to win up to three seats on the London Assembly when the votes are declared this afternoon. However, early reports of high turnout across the capital may make this less likely.

The Guardian

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