BNP gives up its last council seat without a fight

Pendle BNP councillor Brian Parker is stepping down this year, and the party is not putting up a candidate in his Marsden ward – the last BNP council seat in the country

Today the BNP surrendered its last council seat without a fight.  Just a few years ago the party was hitting the headlines with council victories in many areas of England, and even two Members of the European Parliament.  Yet today the press didn’t even notice when the last BNP council seat – Marsden ward, Pendle – was given up.

Nominations closed this afternoon for the local council elections, and it can now be confirmed that long-serving Cllr Brian Parker will not be defending his seat.  No one can blame Cllr Parker for retiring: he has put in a big effort sustained over twelve years, first gaining the seat from Labour in 2006, then winning re-election in 2010 and 2014.  He also contested the Pendle Central division four times at Lancashire County Council elections, most recently last year, and was parliamentary candidate for Pendle at last year’s general election.

The truth is that the BNP has collapsed around Mr Parker and a handful of other nationalist true-believers, and its national leadership is now devoted to hunting financial legacies rather than genuine political activity. The six surviving BNP candidates so far declared (all but one in London) are: David Furness in Northolt West End ward, Ealing; Vincent Evans in West Drayton ward, Hillingdon; Denise Underwood in Saint Andrews ward, Havering; Bede Smith in Goresbrook ward, Barking & Dagenham; Tony McKay in Eastbrook ward, Barking & Dagenham; and Chris Stone in St Thomas ward, Exeter.

Elsewhere veteran nationalist Richard Edmonds will be National Front candidate for St Helier ward, Sutton, unfortunately facing a full slate of three UKIP opponents, as is Kevin Layzell in Gooshays ward, Havering.  NF chairman Kevin Bryan is more lucky, facing no UKIP opposition in Irwell ward, Rossendale where he is in a three-way fight against Lab and Con. Similarly Chris Jackson as NF candidate for Todmorden ward, Calderdale, has no UKIP opponent.

NF chairman Kevin Bryan is contesting his home ward of Irwell, Rossendale

Dr Jim Lewthwaite, chairman of the British Democratic Party, will be British Democrats candidate for Wyke ward, Bradford – the sole nationalist candidate in a city which once had four BNP councillors.

Former BNP, NF and EFP candidate Steven Smith (architect of the BNP’s success in Burnley sixteen years ago) is standing as Independent candidate for Brunshaw ward, Burnley, where he has no UKIP opposition.

Controversial nationalist author Joe Owens is Independent candidate for Kensington & Fairfield ward, Liverpool.

The almost extinct English Democrats have a candidate in Salford, yet another city where a once strong BNP branch has completely disappeared.  Probably the most high profile ED campaign will be for the new Sheffield City Region mayoralty, where David Allen is ED candidate.  This new region includes Doncaster, where the EDs won the old mayoralty in 2009. Another longstanding ED Kevin Riddiough will again be contesting Rockingham ward, Barnsley, and similarly Steve Morris will again contest Besses ward, Bury.

In most of the country the breaking news is of UKIP decline and in many cases disappearance, most notably in their former stronghold of Thurrock, where the entire UKIP group of councillors (including MEP Tim Aker) has left the party.  These councillors will be standing for re-election as ‘Thurrock Independents’, while the official UKIP has mustered only five candidates across the borough.

There are no UKIP candidates in Oldham, where the party is failing to defend the two seats gained in 2014.  Former UKIP councillor Warren Bates is standing for re-election as an Independent in the Failsworth West ward. Another old BNP stronghold where UKIP has now completely disappeared is Barking & Dagenham.  It is rare this year to find a council with a full UKIP slate of candidates for every ward: two examples are Derby and Swindon. In the whole of Birmingham there is only one UKIP candidate, though at least one ex-UKIP parliamentary candidate is standing as an independent.  Former UKIP leadership has candidate John Rees-Evans now runs a ‘Democrats and Veterans’ party which has candidates for several councils this year, including several in Yorkshire: Bradford, Leeds, Barnsley, Harrogate, Wakefield, Kirklees, and Hull.

So far it looks as though Mr Rees-Evans’s party will have substantially more candidates than another newly registered party led by another former UKIP leadership candidate. The ‘For Britain Movement’ created by Anne-Marie Waters on an anti-Islam platform is contesting the Washington North ward in Sunderland, another area where the UKIP branch seems to have collapsed. The strongest For Britain branch appears to be in Leeds, where they are contesting six city council wards. This should give them a chance of some decent results, because following boundary changes the entire Leeds council is being elected this year, with voters in each ward having three votes. Usually this gives a big boost to small parties (as with Burnley BNP in 2002).

There are seven UKIP candidates in Leeds, and only one ward (Crossgates & Whinmoor) has both UKIP and For Britain.  Another of the few areas where For Britain is making progress is the Black Country borough of Sandwell, where there are three For Britain candidates and only one UKIP (the latter has For Britain opposition in Charlemont with Grove Vale ward).

A For Britain candidate is also standing in Yateley East ward, Hart.  On the opposite side of the European debate, another new party seems to be having the same marginal impact as Ms Waters.  The self-styled ‘centrist’ and pro-Remain party Renew, founded by former anti-terrorist officer Chris Coghlan, has twelve candidates so far: eight in its main London base of Wandsworth; two in North Tyneside; and one each in Ealing and Hounslow.

H&D will report further on the 2018 local council elections as nominations are announced.

p.s.: Any nationalists feeling a bit depressed by the state of our movement should spare a thought for the lavishly funded ‘anti-fascists’ of Hope not Hate, whose ‘expert’ election article today predicts that Anne-Marie Waters and For Britain will have Rotherham as one of their target areas in this year’s election.  In fact there are no council elections in Rotherham this year (not until 2020). We do hope none of that Soros money has been spent on special anti-fascist leaflets for Rotherham…

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