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It's Boris . . . (but BNP closes in on Ken)

PUBLISHED: 12:32 01 May 2008 | UPDATED: 14:43 25 August 2010

FAVOURITE: Boris Johnson

FAVOURITE: Boris Johnson

VOTERS have been urged to be vigilant after a far right party came close to out-shining Ken Livingstone in a Bexley Times poll held during this week's London Mayoral Election.

EXCLUSIVE

VOTERS have been urged to be vigilant after a far right party came close to out-shining Ken Livingstone in a Bexley Times poll held during this week's London Mayoral Election.

The British National Party (BNP) scooped support from 12 per cent of shoppers in Bexleyheath Broadway on Tuesday.

The support for BNP candidate, Richard Barnbrook, was almost as high as Mayor Ken Livingstone's 19 per cent backing.

Both were trounched by the Conservative Party's Boris Johnson, who received 55 per cent of the votes from our poll of ninety traders and residents.

However, almost a third of those asked said they would not vote. They were not included in our poll.

Operation Black Vote (OBV), campaigning for representation of ethnic minority voters, said the BNP are being helped in their quest for power by the assumption that politics is a 'spectator sport'.

OBV assistant director, Ashok Viswanathan, said: "It is critical that mainstream voters get out and vote.

"There is evidence that the BNP's popularity is greater in outer London boroughs, so people need to be vigilant."

A BNP spokesman said: "Bexley is a good area for us - we're going to get a good vote."

If voters across outer-London follow Bexley's trend today, Mr Johnson could win a decisive victory as Mr Livingstone's past popularity is usurped by a desire for change.

Most voters in the Times'poll wanted change, while many traditional Labour supporters said they were voting Tory just to oust of Mr Livingstone.

Brian Bartlett, 72, retired, from Erith, votes Conservative. He said: "We have had far too much of Uncle Ken. He's done b***er all for Bexley.

"I'm not a Conservative but I want to get rid of him and Boris might be a better option."

Derek Jones, 71, retired, from Bexleyheath, votes Conservative. He said: "I don't think Ken has done a bad job, but we need a change. Boris is a bit of a clown, but you have to give people a chance."

Terry Murphy, chair of Bexley Pensioners' Forum said: "I don't believe Ken values the vote down here. Places like Bexley and Bromley don't get a look in with him. I haven't seen him here for 18 months.

"It could be his downfall because outer London votes carry a lot of weight. I won't say who I'm voting for, but let's put it like this, it won't be Ken."

Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick proved unpopular with Bexley voters, winning support from just one in 20 people with six per cent of the vote.

The former Lambeth police commander only just beat the Green Party's Siân Berry and the UK Independence Party's Gerrard Batten, who each took 3 per cent of the Bexley vote.

The Christian People's Alliance and Christian Party won two per cent of the vote.

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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