Sensational gain for For Britain’s Julian Leppert

For Britain’s Julian Leppert has won the Waltham Abbey Paternoster ward in Epping Forest with more than 40% of the vote.

H&D subscriber Julian Leppert won Waltham Abbey Paternoster with 40.7% of the vote, almost 100 votes ahead of the second-placed Conservative. This is one of the best nationalist election results ever, all the better against a background where the movement is in disarray. Former BNP councillor Pat Richardson finished runner-up in Waltham Abbey Honey Lane ward with 23%.

In Cliffsend and Pegwell ward, Thanet, former BNP candidate Michael Barnbrook (not related to former GLA member Richard Barnbrook) polled 14.4% for For Britain.

Julian Leppert (above right) – elected yesterday as a For Britain councillor in Epping Forest – seen here with controversial columnist Katie Hopkins.

For Britain also gained a seat from Labour in De Bruce ward, Hartlepool, while in Crewe North, Cheshire East, parish councillor Brian Silvester (a former Tory who defected from UKIP to For Britain) finished runner-up with 297 votes (30.7%).

By contrast in Stoke-on-Trent their only defending councillor Richard Broughan (who had defected to FB from UKIP) finished bottom of the poll with 7.7%; in Exeter the sole For Britain candidate was again bottom of the poll; and in Salford they polled only 3.9%. The obvious lesson is that a well-organised campaign pays dividends. Also there can undoubtedly be a problem where even a well-organised party branch is up against a better known ‘brand name’. For Britain’s candidate in Temple Newsam ward, Leeds, finished bottom of the poll with just 2.5% to UKIP’s 14.0%.

Jamie Rushworth in Town ward, Calderdale – won fifteen years ago by the BNP’s Halifax organiser Adrian Marsden – finished a respectable third for For Britain with 12.0%. Similarly Liam Robinson polled 12% as For Britain candidate in Darwen South ward, Blackburn with Darwen. In Great Barr with Yew Tree ward, Sandwell, Lorraine Binsley polled 12.9% for For Britain; while in Maryport South ward, Allerdale, H&D patron Dave King polled 11.1%.

The Democrats & Veterans party that broke away from UKIP has won two seats in Barnsley – another outstanding result. In Holme Valley South ward, Kirklees, an energetic D&V campaign produced a strong third place with 14.1%, pushing UKIP into last place with 5.8%. Other D&V results included Graham Doherty’s 11.6% in Longdendale ward, Tameside.

Julian Leppert celebrates his election win with For Britain leader Anne Marie Waters and members of his campaign team.

Meanwhile in Sheffield both D&V and the National Front were overshadowed by UKIP (even though the latter failed to win any seats). NF deputy chairman Jordan Pont polled 0.8% in East Ecclesfield ward, compared to UKIP’s 19.8%. In the parallel election for Ecclesfield parish council, where he had no UKIP opposition, Mr Pont’s result was more than ten times better: here he polled 8.5% of votes cast.

In Wyke ward, Bradford, Dr Jim Lewthwaite of the British Democrats achieved an excellent second place with 701 votes (24.5%). His fellow British Democrat Kevan Stafford polled 121 votes (5.3%) in a dual vacancy election for Loughborough Shelthorpe ward, Charnwood.

Dr Jim Lewthwaite addressing a John Tyndall Memorial Meeting organised by H&D – he polled 24.5% this week in Bradford.

Across the Pennines in Todmorden ward, Calderdale, the NF’s Chris Jackson polled 4.6%, up from 2.7% last year. The best NF result was in Brunshaw ward, Burnley, where Steven Smith (organiser of Burnley BNP in its glory days) polled 182 votes (16.3%).

Former NF and BNP activist Mick Sharpe polled 4.2% as English Democrat candidate in Ripley & Marehay ward, Amber Valley. ED leader Robin Tilbrook, who secured nationwide publicity for his legal action aiming to secure Brexit, polled 17.2% in Chipping Ongar, Greensted and Marden Ash ward, Epping Forest.

A tiny group of former UKIP activists remain loyal to the party’s ex-leader Henry Bolton, whose new ‘Our Nation’ party had four candidates in Dover. Their strongest results were achieved by Graham Lane in Buckland ward, who polled 21%, and defending councillor Ben Glayzer who lost his seat in Tower Hamlets ward after polling 16.9%. Our Nation’s only other candidate was in Peterborough, where unlike his Dover colleagues Jack Penny had UKIP opposition and was predictably crushed, polling only 1.7%.

Against a background of ‘Brexit betrayal’, and with both major parties divided and discredited, UKIP should have been making gains, instead they have been losing seats nationwide. These losses were offset by a handful of gains as voters reacted with mixed anger and cynicism against the main political parties.

Some of the earliest results came in Sunderland, where UKIP made gains against an unpopular Labour-controlled council. Readers should be careful not to draw too many conclusions from Sunderland, which is likely to be atypically hostile to Labour and friendly to UKIP. For example UKIP’s obsession with Islam failed to gain the party any seats in Rochdale or Oldham, two of the party’s main target areas, though two UKIP gains were made in Derby, which seems to be the party’s best branch.

The full nationwide picture reflects UKIP’s collapse in so many of its former strongholds, but one bright spot is Hapton with Park ward, Burnley: the very same ward that once had a full set of three BNP councillors now has a full set of UKIP after Peter Gill gained the third seat from Labour. There was very nearly a second gain for Burnley UKIP: they missed out in Gawthorpe ward by just nine votes. Arguably UKIP’s best branch is in Derby, where they gained two seats and now have five city councillors.

Meanwhile in Mill Hill & Moorgate ward, Blackburn with Darwen, a ward that combines areas once won by the BNP and the England First Party, UKIP’s Michael Longbottom greatly improved his vote finishing runner-up with 34%, up from 13.6% last year. The point is that this is the type of area where UKIP would be winning seats now had they not self-destructed in recent years.

Similarly in two working-class Preston wards close to the H&D office, UKIP failed to make any progress, polling 23.0% in Brookfield and 23.3% in Ribbleton, despite this year’s elections being for all three vacancies in each redrawn ward, greatly helping smaller parties. Each of these wards ought to be winnable for UKIP or indeed for a serious, electorally-focused nationalist party.

Gerard Batten’s party will justifiably be celebrating gains from Labour in three Sunderland wards and also gained one seat in Hartlepool, but results here indicated that there is now a substantial general protest vote, which we can expect to see nationwide – with For Britain plus various independents as well as Liberal Democrats and Greens making gains.

One such independent gain was in Failsworth East ward, Oldham, with former UKIP councillor Warren Bates narrowly failing to regain a seat as an independent in next door Failsworth West. Oldham was meant to be one of the few areas where UKIP were still making progress, contesting fourteen seats across the borough, but they failed even to come close to winning a seat: their best votes were 25.9% in Hollinwood, 25.1% in Royton South, and 23.7% in Chadderton South.

UKIP lost both seats they were defending in Sheffield, and are now down to just one Sheffield councillor.

The once significant BNP is down to just two candidates nationwide. Ian Seeby polled 15.4% in Cheshunt South & Theobalds ward, Broxbourne – the first time that the BNP has fought this ward, benefiting from the disappearance of UKIP in this area. Ron Ball in Swanley St Mary’s ward, Sevenoaks, was bottom of the poll with 45 votes (5.5%). This is a ward that the BNP won in 2009.

Former BNP activist Pete Molloy won a town council seat in Spennymoor

Former BNP activist Joe Owens polled 2.4% as an Independent candidate in the Labour stronghold of Kensington & Fairfield, Liverpool. Another former BNP activist Pete Molloy polled 12.7% in a by-election for Spennymoor ward, Durham. In a simultaneous parish council election Mr Molloy was elected to Spennymoor Town Council with 488 votes (31.3%). Readers should note this is a more substantial election than most parish council contests: often these are depoliticised contests with low turnouts, but this is certainly not the case in Spennymoor. Mr Molloy has rescued a real nationalist victory from the wreckage of the BNP.

Another well known ex-BNP activist standing as an independent this year was Alan Girvan, who polled a very impressive 785 votes (18.4%) in Heckmondwike ward, Kirklees.

Britain First has failed to register as a political party, but two of the group’s activists stood as independents. Paul Rudge polled 26.7% in Rowley ward, Sandwell, while Geoff Miles took 10.1% in Ware Trinity ward, East Hertfordshire.

British Resistance candidate Carl Mason, an ally of the controversial Jack Sen, polled 17 votes (1.0%) in Nunnery ward, Worcester. In West ward, Chichester, former BNP organiser Dr Andrew Emerson polled 84 votes (3.6%) for his Patria party.

H&D will bring further coverage of election results as they are declared in remaining councils this afternoon. Some Northern Ireland results – including Court ward, Belfast, where Jolene Bunting, an independent councillor once linked to Britain First, is seeking re-election, will not be declared until tomorrow (Saturday).

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