Tuesday 12 July 2005

Anti-fascists welcome BNP’s defeat in local by-elections

The British National Party (BNP) was defeated in three local council by-elections contested yesterday, after anti-fascist campaigners mobilised to stop the BNP. They stood candidates in two by-elections in Thurrock, Essex, in the Grays Riverside and The Homesteads wards and one in the Felling ward in Gateshead. The BNP had hoped to win the Grays Riverside ward, as the BNP had previously won a by-election in Grays Riverside in September 2003. This councillor was defeated in June 2004.

The BNP finished third in Grays Riverside with 25% of the vote, fourth in The Homesteads with 9.5% and third in Felling with only 7.8%. Labour won all three by-elections with 42.4% in Grays Riverside, 42.2% in The Homesteads and 69.2% in Felling.

Although the BNP has contested several local by-elections they have not won a by-lection since taking the Goresbrook ward in Baking, in September 2004. This councillor was defeated in June 2004.

Andrew Mackinlay MP for Thurrock said:

‘This is an important victory for Labour and a significant defeat for the BNP. To be beaten into third place in a seat they once held is devastating for them. The BNP has been rumbled by the people of Grays Riverside. They saw through the BNP’s thin veil of respectability, the opportunistic and cosmetic concerns for local issues to send a clear message that the BNP and everything they stand for is not welcome in our town. I would like to congratulate everyone who joined forces with us to fight such a successful campaign that inflicted such a comprehensive defeat on the BNP.’

Angela Smith MP for Basildon said:

‘This is a clear rejection of the divisive and bigoted policies of the BNP. I am delighted that the BNP were defeated. It was noticeable that the BNP had very little active local support and they had to bring in BNP supporters from outside the area.’

Mick Connolly, Regional Secretary of the TUC in the South East region said: ‘I am delighted with the results in Thurrock. This shows that the BNP can be defeated by effective campaigning from the mainstream political parties, the trade unions and anti-fascists.’

Sabby Dhalu, Unite Against Fascism Joint Secretary said:

‘This is a great result particularly after a racist hoax leaflet attempting to stir up Islamophobia was distributed in both of the Thurrock wards. The vast majority of people abhor the BNP – a fascist, racist and homophobic organisation that is full of criminal thugs – and this majority made their voice heard.’

Weyman Bennett, Unite Against Fascism, Joint Secretary said:

‘The fascist BNP stood in large groups outside the polling stations attempting to intimidate those who wanted to vote. But they failed- black, Asian and white people turned out to reject their poison .We are majority and we can defeat them every time we mobilise.’

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