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Thursday, 16 May, 2002, 20:59 GMT 21:59 UK
First meeting for BNP councillors
BNP poster in Burnley
The far-right party campaigned hard in Burnley
Demonstrators greeted three newly-elected British National Party (BNP) councillors as they attended their first council meeting.

As the trio entered Burnley Town Hall on Thursday night, they were met with shouts and chants from a small group of Anti-Nazi League demonstrators.

Only one of the BNP representatives will sit on committees at the Labour-dominated council.

The public was excluded from the meeting attended by BNP councillors David Edwards, a 40-year-old surveyor, Carole Hughes, 44, a section leader for a car manufacturer and Terry Grogan, 43, a production manager.

'Strongest parties'

The committees on which the BNP will be represented include the community housing liaison group, the member structures working group and the development control committee.

Mr Edwards said: "Yesterday (Wednesday) we were told which committees we were on so I've only had a quick chance to read through what each one requires.

"I was looking at regeneration but the strongest parties will always decide the committees.

"It is up to the Labour Party, or whoever is strongest at the time."

Mr Edwards said his work had suffered as a result of his recent election campaign but he now wanted to get on with his two-year spell in the job.

Leadership confusion

He said: "We are looking at society in Burnley, we need to sort out the cultural problems really - that's it."

There was some confusion between the three councillors about who was leader of the trio.

Ms Hughes thought Mr Grogan was the leader whereas Mr Edwards thought he was in charge.

The council chairman, Liberal Democrat councillor Gordon Birtwistle, welcomed the 15 new members to the 45-strong council.

'Council commitment'

Opening the 34-minute session he said: "All members of the council have been democratically elected and will be treated equally - they have the same rights no matter their political persuasion.

"I expect all members to conduct themselves in accordance with that code.

"Division will not be accepted either in the council or elsewhere and I will have no difficulty in excluding anyone from this code."

The new council leader, Labour councillor Stuart Caddy, said the past 12 months had been very difficult for Burnley and he was determined to unite the council.

He said: "I firmly believe that the commitment for this council and the new councillors will see Burnley prosper very, very much."


Click here to go to Lancashire
See also:

05 May 02 | England
Union monitors 'BNP menace'
04 May 02 | UK Politics
Campaigners march against BNP
03 May 02 | England
BNP shock for North
03 May 02 | UK Politics
Witnessing the BNP success
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