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BNP prove a force in Assembly polls

PUBLISHED: 11:49 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 14:50 25 August 2010

A FAR-RIGHT party became the third most popular party in four constituencies in the Greater London Authority (GLA) elections.

A FAR-RIGHT party became the third most popular party in four constituencies in the Greater London Authority (GLA) elections.

The British National Party (BNP) came third, beating Liberal Democrats, in Bexleyheath and Crayford, Eltham, Erith and Thamesmead and Old Bexley and Sidcup, in the May 1 London elections.

In Orpington, the Labour Party took just 9.33 per cent of the GLA vote, being beaten by the Liberal Democrats and almost by the BNP's 7.62 per cent.

However, BNP for the rest of Bromley were low compared to their neighbouring borough.

The Times predicted (May 1, 2008) that the BNP would come close to beating the Labour Party in the area after conducting a straw poll of 90 people in Bexleyheath.

In Erith and Thamesmead the BNP picked up a vote for almost every two Tory votes.

Orpington Labour Party member Chris Purnell, who stood for the parliamentary seat in 2001, said his party had suffered because of poor social housing and unemployment.

He said: "Labour has lost touch with ordinary working people.

"While the working class have as a whole don well under Labour, there are areas that they have been neglected."

The BNP are now picking up these votes, said barrister Mr Purnell, who thinks the trend is likely to continue and grow.

He said: "The fact is that the Nazi party only had two per cent of the vote in 1928 and were in by 1933.

"If the BNP came into power in this country, I feel they would destroy democracy."

But Conservative Spencer Drury, leader of the opposition in Greenwich, played down the BNP results.

He said: "You look at the BNP's share of the London votes and it is a fairly minimal increase and not the strike forwards that would claim."

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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