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Last Updated: Friday, 11 June, 2004, 17:32 GMT 18:32 UK
Bradford gives BNP a rare boost
BNP rosette
The BNP had a TV broadcast
The British National Party has won four council seats in Bradford but failed to make the significant gains nationally that some observers had suggested.

The party also won three in Epping Forest to add to its tally.

But with results in from 149 councils, the party was only one seat up. It held 16 seats before this week's England and Wales local elections.

A BNP spokesman said: "Everyone was against us but we've done fantastically well. Bradford was a major result."

The BNP failed to win any seats in key target Oldham, or to gain ground in Burnley, where it gained one seat from Labour but lost another to the Conservatives.

Home secretary David Blunkett reacted by the news that there had been no significant overall BNP gain: "We shouldn't be complacent because their message is a dangerous one.

"What is absolutely certain is that they have not succeeded in the way that perhaps just a few months ago many of us, including myself, actually thought was likely. "We have to take them on," he said adding that the way to do this was by "trust and confidence" on issues like race, religion and nationality.

Shopkeeper Len Starr, head of the BNP group on the Burnley council, said: "The results were not what we wanted, but they were not discouraging either.

"Life goes on. We will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and we'll be back stronger than ever."

The party fielded a record number of candidates, had a party political broadcast shown on national TV and hosted a high profile visit by French nationalist leader Jean Marie Le Pen.

The party needs 9% of the vote in the European elections to gain its first MEP. The European Parliament election results will be released at about 2130 BST on Sunday.




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