POLITICS

BNP To Field Lowest Number Of Local Election Candidates In A Decade

10/04/2013 13:44 BST | Updated 10/04/2013 16:02 BST

The British National Party will field their lowest number of candidates for over a decade in local elections across England this year, with just 90 as opposed to 450 four years ago.

Anti-fascist campaigners Hope Not Hate reported that the far right party only realistically has the possibility of winning two or three seats, with Sharron Wilkinson, the BNP’s only current county councillor, deciding not to defend her seat in Burnley.

No BNP candidates will stand for Mayor in previous hotspots like Doncaster and North Tyneside. Just one candidate will stand in Yorkshire for a council seat.

bnp

BNP leader Nick Griffin

The exiled former BNP MEP Andrew Brons is keeping his options limited at the elections, with his newly formed British Democratic Party fielding just three candidates. In total, there are only 142 candidates of the far-right and extreme nationalists standing.

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Hope Not Hate said in a statement: "Both the BNP and BDP will no doubt argue that the lack of candidates is a deliberate move because they realise that the rise of UKIP severely hampers their chances.

"While this might be a political reality, this is not the reason for the lack of candidates. The truth is simply that the far right is in complete disarray."

In the analysis, Hope Not Hate predicted that Ukip would hoover up much of the far-right vote, despite not being "a far right party, or even intrinsically racist."

"They are also likely to eclipse the BNP and other nationalist groups in the seats they are competing and this is likely to further demoralise and marginalise the far right."

Far-right expert Dr Matthew Goodwin, of Nottingham University, said: "The BNP stood over 400 candidates in 2009, compared to less than 100 next month.

"The party appears unable to halt its electoral decline, and despite some significant donations it appears destined once again for the political wilderness"

Last week, the English Defence League's leader said he would back Ukip, rather than encourage candidates to stand from his own organisation.

Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who goes by the name Tommy Robinson, said he was endorsing Ukip because the electoral system was set against them, whereas Ukip had a chance to get into power.