Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 12:58 UK

BNP to fight every ward in Barking & Dagenham election

Richard Barnbrook
Mr Barnbrook wants to strip illegal immigrants of council houses

The British National Party has revealed it is fighting for every ward available on Barking and Dagenham Council, fielding a list of 34 candidates.

In 2006 the party became the opposition with 12 councillors in the area.

Now the party, which wants to remove illegal immigrants from council houses, wants to win full control.

Labour denied Barking was a racist stronghold, while the Conservatives called the BNP "inept". The Liberal Democrats said Labour was the problem.

Richard Barnbrook, a senior BNP figure, is the man hoping to become leader of the council.

Outlining his policies to BBC London, Mr Barnbrook said: "If we find Labour putting people into council stock that haven't got the right to be here then those people - I'm terribly sorry - will be removed from their council houses into flats in tower blocks."

If the people that voted for them went to assemblies and listened to their ineptness then I'm afraid they wouldn't have any backing at all in this borough
Terry Justice, Conservatives

In the party's manifesto it says school trips to mosques will be banned.

Mr Barnbrook said: "What I'm saying, there will be no school visits to other religions other than the faith [of] that child's own denomination."

The party's message has struck a chord with some traditional voters who feel disenfranchised with the pace of change in the area.

One told BBC London: "There are a lot of foreigners here. You go on the bus and you don't know what they are saying."

Another said: "They are all getting jobs, money and flats. People born here are trying to get jobs - but we can't."

'Frustration with Labour'

But other parties have rallied round - with the Christian Party removing its candidates to avoid splitting the Labour vote.

Christian Party member Paula Watson said: "There's an old African saying that says when two elephants fight its the ground that suffers - and the people of Barking and Dagenham will suffer."

The Conservatives rubbished the BNP's chances. Tory candidate Terry Justice said: "If the people that voted for them went to assemblies and listened to their ineptness then I'm afraid they wouldn't have any backing at all in this borough."

And Terry London of the Liberal Democrats said: "I don't think that really the BNP are the main issue - Labour is the issue.

"The BNP only got in because of the frustration with Labour."

But Labour hit out at the use of the race issue in electioneering. Jon Cruddas, Labour parliamentary candidate for Dagenham, said: "I don't like the stigmatisation of the community in that this is a racist capital - it's not.

"There are a number of big issues here in terms of housing, in terms of immigration.

"But we need to have a calm thoughtful way through that."



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SEE ALSO
Immigration leads Barking debate
13 Apr 10 |  UK election
BNP takes to streets of Barking
14 Apr 10 |  UK election

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