Latest local election results

Congratulations to BNP councillor Brian Parker, who in a generally calamitous week for his party succeeded in winning re-election in Marsden ward, Pendle, for a record third term.

Cllr Parker’s won by six votes after a recount in a very tight three-way fight with Tory and Labour. UKIP were a distant fourth. This confounds all predictions, including my own: but on this occasion I’m very happy to eat humble pie!

Elsewhere there was sobering news for nationalists: in Pitsea North West ward, Basildon, where the BNP once finished well ahead of UKIP, the council seat was won by UKIP with no BNP candidate even standing. UKIP’s Imelda Clancy was elected with 45.8% of the vote, while the Conservative vote fell from 34.1% to 16.9%.

As counts began again on Friday, the death of the once mighty Burnley BNP was confirmed when John Rowe polled only 9.8% in Gannow ward, one of the seats won by the party during its first big breakthrough in 2002. One of the party’s few remaining respectable results was in Rosegrove with Lowerhouse, but even here arch-Griffinite Chris Vanns was bottom of the poll with 21.9% in a ward where the BNP once tied for first place with 30.7%.

UKIP won nothing in Burnley, but gained a notable scalp in nearby Hyndburn by ousting the Labour deputy leader of the council.

In Kingstanding ward, Birmingham, the BNP were crushed – polling only 92 votes (2.1%) in a ward where just six years ago they managed 17.3%. Unusually the winners here were the Conservatives, holding back the UKIP surge, but there can be no doubt that the BNP has become a marginal irrelevance in West Midlands politics.

In another Birmingham ward, Shard End, the BNP vote was just 2.9%, a catastrophic fall from 23.6% in 2008. Here Labour narrowly held off a strong UKIP challenge. A truly terrible night for Birmingham BNP was completed in Erdington, where the party polled only 1.2%.

London BNP’s first results were in New Addington ward, Croydon, which in past years had been a target area for the party but this year saw another steep decline: Cliff Le May’s vote fell from 16.8% to 5.8% while fellow BNP candidate Donna Treanor slipped from 12.1% to 2.7%.

One of the few BNP branches to field a substantial slate of candidates this year was in Worcester, but the results were appalling: 0.8% in Battenhall; 1.5% in Bedwardine; 0.8% in Cathedral; 2.7% in Gorse Hill; 2.9% in Rainbow Hill; 1.6% in St John; and 2.9% in Warndon. Only Carl Mason in Nunnery ward managed a credible 13.0%, helped by the absence of UKIP, and even this was down from 15.2% in 2008.

An expected UKIP victory over Labour came in Dinnington ward, Rotherham, where the party has had a presence for some years and has been lavishly funded by local tycoon Paul Sykes. Undoubtedly UKIP were helped by local Tories as well as the BNP failing to contest the ward. UKIP has also made gains in other Rotherham wards where previously the BNP had been the main challengers.

In Rawmarsh ward – once held by the BNP – UKIP held on to the seat they gained in a by-election last year. A total of nine gains for UKIP included Rotherham West (where the BNP once polled 26.2% but has now disappeared). I would expect that Rotherham’s results will prove exceptional: do not expect to see similar big UKIP gains (yet) in other former BNP strongholds in northern England.

In Longbridge ward, Birmingham, UKIP has finished a close second behind Labour with 29.3%. (The BNP polled 14.1% here in 2008 but was absent this year.)

Meanwhile in Primrose ward, South Tyneside – where the BNP once polled over 30% – UKIP achieved a similar score of 34.7%. As across most of the North East region, the BNP has disappeared from the electoral arena.

Elsewhere in South Tyneside – where UKIP have been the official opposition on the council – UKIP councillor Steve Harrison has lost his seat to Labour. Cllr Harrison had previously been elected as an independent, and was defending his seat for the first time under UKIP colours.

Earlier this week the Financial Times featured St Anne’s ward, Sunderland, as a possible UKIP breakthrough in a traditionally solid Labour area.

In fact Labour has held St Anne’s ward, with a majority of 320 over UKIP. This UKIP vote of 33.2% was up from 28.2% at a by-election two months ago – but a long way short of the type of sensational breakthrough that some had predicted. I suspect that despite the media hype, UKIP will be winning seats more in Tory or SE England “white flight” areas rather than the old Labour strongholds where the BNP were once hopeful. (Although there is early news of UKIP gains from Labour in Hull and Rotherham.)

In many areas of the North, Liberal Democrats (and sometimes even the BNP) had previously benefited from a protest vote against complacent/corrupt local Labour oligarchies. That anti-Labour vote seems to have swung behind UKIP, with the Liberal Democrat vote in the North collapsing. However with a split opposition vote, Labour has usually held seats and continues to control councils: later tonight and tomorrow we can expect to see David Cameron’s spokesmen blaming UKIP for some Labour gains , while other Tories will push for an alliance with Farage’s forces.

The BNP’s Dennis Shambley in Abram ward, Wigan, polled 4.9% in a ward that he has fought almost every year for more than a decade. Mr Shambley took more than 20% as runner-up to Labour in 2004 and several times polled above 15% in Abram. If this scale of decline is repeated across the NW England region, then Nick Griffin will have lost badly in his bid for re-election to the European Parliament.

There was better news for the BNP in Miles Platting & Newton Heath ward, Manchester, where Gareth Black polled 14.2% (up from 8.3% in 2010) partly thanks to the absence of UKIP. But in another Manchester ward, Moston, where there was UKIP opposition, Stephen Carden managed only 4.2% (down from 12.5% in 2010).

Julian Leppert, the former BNP mayoral candidate now standing for the new British Democratic Party in Hainault ward, Redbridge, polled 284 votes (8.6%) in the BDP’s first ever London campaign. Other Brit Dem candidates included three in Newcastle: former BNP regional organiser Ken Booth, who polled 4.9% in Benwell & Scotswood ward; Russ Rickerby, 4.3% in Fenham ward; and most impressively Kenny Baldwin, with 18.5% in Elswick ward. The latter was one of the best nationalist results anywhere in England this week.

Kevin Meeson in Middleton Park ward, Leeds, took 6.9% for the Brit Dems despite facing UKIP opposition, and finished well ahead of the Conservatives. Next door in Bradford two Brit Dem candidates faced strong UKIP campaigns: former BNP councillor Dr Jim Lewthwaite polled 4.5% in Royds ward; while Liam Kernaghan similarly polled 4.3% in Tong ward.

Local millionaire Paul Cromie, who first won his seat in Queensbury ward, Bradford, as a BNP candidate but quit the party a year later, was re-elected as an Independent with a majority of 115 over UKIP.

The National Front was split into two bitterly opposed rival factions at these elections, with only the group loyal to party chairman Ian Edward allowed to use the NF name on ballot papers. Mr Edward himself polled 7.1% in Harefield ward, Hillingdon; Thomas Davis 2.3% in Grays Thurrock ward, Thurrock; Mick Griffin 4.5% in Tilbury Riverside & Thurrock Park ward, Thurrock; Anthony Harms 0.8% in Laindon Park, Basildon; Thomas Beaney 3.3% in Lee Chapel North, Basildon; and Bernadette Jaggers 0.9% in Victoria ward, Southend.

Three members of the NF rebel faction stood as independent candidates, since they were unable to use the party name. Former BNP national organiser Richard Edmonds took 4.4% in Worcester Park ward, Sutton; Tony Martin 1.9% in Croham ward, Croydon; and Tess Culnane 2.7% in Downham ward, Lewisham.

More election results will appear here during the weekend, and on Sunday night there will be a full report of the European Parliamentary elections.

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