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EDITIONS
 Friday, 24 January, 2003, 09:53 GMT
History of the BNP
BNP supporters
BNP supporters celebrate in Tower Hamlets in 1993
The British National Party now has five council seats in England after the victory of Adrian Marsden in Calderdale, West Yorkshire. This is a brief history of the party.

The British National Party was formed by John Tyndall, co-founder of the National Front, in 1982.

It now has more than 100 branches across the country.

It has spread from traditional support bases in London and the West Midlands to small towns in Wales, the West Country, the Pennines, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The party's leader is Cambridge law graduate Nick Griffin, who took over at the helm in September 1999.

Nick Griffin
BNP leader Nick Griffin
He lives in Mid-Wales with his wife and four children.

He has been a full-time political writer and organiser for the BNP since 1996, and has been involved in nationalist politics for almost 30 years.

He has a conviction for inciting racial hatred.

In 1993, the party won a council seat as Derek Beackon triumphed in a by-election in the Millwall ward of Tower Hamlets in east London.

In elections in May 1994, Labour won back the seat - with a turnout of 66.5% - although in three other wards in the borough that same day, the BNP received between one fifth and one quarter of the votes cast.

Council polls in 2002 led to the party's most successful elections as it won three seats in Burnley.

Candidates

In seats they fought during the elections, the party averaged 20% of the vote, their best performance since the 1970s.

Later in the year the BNP picked up a further council seat in Blackburn.

In the 1997 general election, the party fielded 57 candidates and saved three deposits, winning 35,000 votes.

In the 1999 European elections, its candidates won 100,000 votes.

And in the 2001 general election, it won 47,000 votes after putting up 33 candidates.

The BNP rejects accusations that it is racist and it says it has severed links with the National Front.

Rioting

Under its current policy, the party backs an immediate halt to "all further non-white immigration" and the "voluntary resettlement" of non-whites to "their lands of ethnic origin".

In 2001 general election, Mr Griffin stood for the seat of Oldham West and Royton, where weeks earlier racial tension had led to rioting, and won 16.4% of the vote.

The party made significant in-roads in another Oldham seat and in Burnley, but elsewhere it struggled.

In London, where 14 of its 33 candidates stood, it failed to make significant gains.

In the East End seat of Bethnal Green and Bow, where the party did best in 1997, the BNP saw its share of the vote halve from 7.5% last time to just over 3%.

See also:

24 Jan 03 | Politics
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