The BNP has achieved very significant levels of support in some parts of Britain
Speaking at a rally in support of better rights for immigrants and asylum seekers in Trafalgar Square today, Jon Cruddas will say that the BNP achieved very significant levels of support in some parts of the country, polling in excess of 27% of the votes cast in the wards they contested in Stoke-on-Trent and close to a quarter of the votes in Rotherham, Burnley, Sandwell and Thurrock. An extra 2,500 votes in North Wales would have seen the BNP gain a seat in the Welsh Assembly.
According to figures from the anti-fascist organisation, Searchlight, the BNP polled an average 14% to 15% of the result nationally after fielding 743 candidates in district and borough council wards and over 130 candidates in Welsh, Scottish and parish council elections.
The MP for Dagenham said the results are especially worrying given evidence that the BNP did not actively campaign in many areas. He says there are underlying issues that are driving people to the BNP which must be addressed as a matter of urgency. He blames the retreat of the Labour Party in heartland areas and the mainstream parties preoccupation with middle England as contributing factors to the BNP's renewed confidence.
Jon Cruddas, Deputy Leadership candidate and Dagenham MP, said:
"The BNP stood more candidates in last week's elections than they had members just a few years ago and despite the fact they actively campaigned in only a handful of wards, they have polled consistently around 15% of the vote.
"We have to accept that something palpable is happening here. The BNP is tapping into people's latent fears and disillusionment with the mainstream parties. The fact that the BNP achieved these levels of support despite the fact that the vast majority were paper candidates who did not put out a single leaflet or knock on a single door is particularly worrying.
"Anti BNP campaigners ran really successful community based campaigns in places like Sandwell which stopped the party's advances but it was has been a victory or organisation rather than one built on political will. We have to provide political solutions to people's everyday concerns on job security, affordable housing, pay, education and health inequalities."
The committed anti-BNP campaigner believes the BNP's strategy in fielding so many candidates is to build name recognition and reduce the fear factor around the BNP in the build up to next year's London elections and the European elections the following year.
"There must be no complacency. While the BNP failed to win seats this year they are on course to win seats on the Greater London Assembly and several MEPs. If they achieve this then they have broken into the mainstream," he warned.
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