Anti-fascists set sights on last Burnley BNP councillor

Anti-fascist campaigners said today that they hope to kick the last British National Party (BNP) councillor off Burnley Council in next Thursday’s local council elections.

The far-right party took three seats on the council in 2002, cashing in on the neglect suffered by the former industrial town.

The BNP concentrated its attack on Burnley’s Asian community and won five more seats in 2003, becoming the official opposition on the Lancashire council to Labour.

The infection spread across the Pennines to West Yorkshire, where in subsequent elections it won seats on the district councils of Calderdale (Halifax), Kirklees (Huddersfield), Bradford and Leeds.

In response, unrelenting and determined campaigns by anti-fascist groups including Hope Not Hate and Unite Against Fascism were mounted.

The BNP has now been wiped out electorally on councils in West Yorkshire, though former BNP member and veteran fascist Andrew Brons is still a Yorkshire Euro-MP.

Back in Lancashire, BNP leader Nick Griffin remains as Euro-MP for the north west.

Both will be targeted by anti-fascist campaigners if they stand for re-election in 2014.

Hope Not Hate has maintained a constant anti-fascist campaign in Burnley for the last decade and is now mounting a final push to rid the town of the BNP.

The group’s director Nick Lowles said: “The BNP is in a mess because of recent political defeats. Next Thursday we could see a BNP-free Burnley for the first time in 11 years.”

The far-right party had a minor electoral breakthrough in 1993, when Derek Beackon became its first-ever elected councillor in Millwall, but he soon lost the seat.

 From The Morning Star . Report by Peter Lazenby. 25.04.13.


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