Pat Hurst, Press Authority (UK), May 6
The British National Party failed to win any seats but attracted tens of thousands of votes up and down the UK, General Election results show.
Although immigration was one of the top election issues, the far-right party secured only a marginal increase in its share of the overall vote, up 0.55% on 2001.
But it did win significant shares of the vote in some of the 120 constituencies where it put up a candidate.
These were concentrated in areas with high immigration, including Yorkshire and the West Midlands.
The BNP’s best result came in Barking in east London, where Richard Barnbrook won 16.89% of the vote, coming a close third behind the Tories and Labour.
Nick Griffin, the party’s leader, stood in Keighley, West Yorkshire, and attracted 4,240 votes — more than 9% — just behind the Liberal Democrats at nearly 12%.
The result comes despite 45-year-old Mr Griffin facing race hate charges following an undercover TV expose.
Anthony Jones, BNP candidate in Ashton under Lyne, Greater Manchester, got more than 2,000 votes, as did Nicholas Cass in Rother Valley. Both seats were held by Labour.
In Wentworth, Jonathan Pygott of the BNP got nearly 1,798 votes
In Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, David Exley polled 5,066 votes (13.13%). The seat was won by Labour’s Shahid Malik.
And in Rotherham BNP candidate Marlene Guest polled 1,986 — an increase of 7%, amounting to a 7% share of the votes cast in the constituency.
The party also scored 4% in Sunderland North, as well as in Sunderland South.
Overall though, with most results in, the party has failed to reach its touted 2-3% of the overall vote, with its share being about 0.74% of all votes cast.
Jim Macbeth, Scotsman, May 6
Ugly scenes marred the declaration in Glasgow after candidates refused to share the platform with the British National Party.
Labour’s Mohammed Sarwar and the other candidates for the Glasgow Central protested at the BNP’s presence. Mr Sarwar said: “All the candidates made a unanimous decision that we would not share the platform with the BNP tonight.”
For the first time in the history of the general election in Glasgow no candidates contesting one of the city’s seats were on the platform to hear the result being announced.
The returning officer stood alone, his words drowned by bellowing, leaving the crowd unable to hear the results being called. As he attempted to declare that Mr Sarwar, the former Labour MP for Govan, had won the seat, members of the Scottish Socialist Party confronted BNP supporters.
Police were forced to separate the two factions as they chanted at each other.
Walter Hamilton, the BNP candidate, who won 671 votes, said: “We practice democracy . . . ask them about their democracy. We are the fastest-growing political party in Britain. Why should we stand on that stage alone? The police told us not to go on stage.”
Police dismissed that claim.
Mr Sarwar said: “All the parties have shared many hustings in this campaign in communities which refused to invite the BNP to participate. We believe it wouldn’t be right of us now to share a platform with them.”
• Glasgow’s affair with the Scottish Socialist Party was on the wane early today when its candidate was trounced in Glasgow East. Labour swept to victory with a massive majority of 13,507.
Colin Brown, Independent (London), May 6
Michael Howard was the man proudly leading a Tory revival early today as the Conservatives made gains across the country, with swings of about 5 per cent from Labour in many seats. Despite going down to their third successive election defeat — the Conservatives’ worst run of results since 1910 — their hopes were lifted by the swing, which relieved the pressure on Mr Howard to quit the leadership.
In addition to a boost from voters turning against Tony Blair, Conservative canvassers were reporting that the use of the immigration issue had increased support among former Labour working-class voters, despite the widespread criticism that the tactic drew during the campaign.
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