By Jerry Thomas
The Politics Show, BBC London
Nick Griffin is the BNP candidate in Barking
In November 2009 the leader of the BNP, Nick Griffin, declared that he would stand as a candidate in the East London constituency of Barking.
In the 2005 general election, Barking gave the BNP its best ever parliamentary result when its candidate Richard Barnbrook got 17% of the vote.
He was only narrowly beaten to third place by the Conservatives.
In the local elections of 2006 the BNP took 11 of the 51 seats on Barking and Dagenham council.
This means that nine out of the 30 councillors in wards that make up the constituency of Barking, are from the BNP.
Having enjoyed the oxygen of publicity from his controversial appearance on BBC's 'Question Time' the previous month, Mr Griffin's move was seen as an attempt to capitalise on the BNP's relatively successful showing in the constituency in recent elections.
The BNP believe that the economic slump will help their cause.
They hope to attract white working class voters and put a serious dent in the incumbent MP's, Labour's Margaret Hodge's majority.
Mrs Hodge is defiant and announced on hearing of Mr Griffin's candidacy, she told the Politics Show London:
"We have been fighting the BNP for the last three years so we have been expecting a BNP candidate to stand against me and it now turns out to be Nick Griffin.
"My job is to expose and expel him from the constituency."
In next door Labour held Dagenham, through changes under the Boundary Commission, some of the Labour supporting wards loyal to local MP Jon Cruddas has been stripped out and the constituency has inherited a swathe of Essex Tory territory in the form of Rainham.
There is some irony in the changing political complexions of the two adjoining constituencies.
Prominent left winger, Mr Cruddas has long expressed the view that the Labour party has forgotten to speak to its key working class vote.
Political observers have suggested that a high profile BNP figure such as Nick Griffin, might have hit the Labour vote and let the Conservatives in.
The expected general election date is May 6th, the same day as local authority elections in London.
Although Nick Griffin winning the BNP's first seat in Parliament would give the BNP a symbolic victory, the power of one back bench MP to change things is limited.
Gaining more control in the town hall might would offer the BNP greater power to implement change. Barking and Dagenham has an annual budget of over £150m and control over important policy areas like housing and education.
List of Prospective Parliamentary Candidates standing in Barking:
• DOMINIC CARMAN, Lib Dem
• JAYNE FORBES, Green
• NICK GRIFFIN, BNP
• GEORGE HARGREAVES, Christian
• MARGARET HODGE, Labour
• FRANK MALONEY, UKIP
• SIMON MARCUS, Conservative
The Politics Show broadcasts at 1200 GMT on BBC One and for seven days after on the BBC