BNP on the rise because Blair ignores working class, says MP

New Labour is contributing to the rise of the BNP in town halls by ignoring white working-class voters, a former Downing Street adviser has warned.

New Labour is contributing to the rise of the BNP in town halls by ignoring white working-class voters, a former Downing Street adviser has warned.

John Cruddas, who advised Tony Blair on relations with trade unions, said the white working class felt disenfranchised because New Labour was targeting the middle classes. "The BNP is taking a rational approach to the political repositioning of New Labour," he said.

He also warned that in seeking to neutralise the issue of race, New Labour had helped to "demonise immigrants" and "moved the language to the right".

Mr Cruddas is MP for Dagenham, east London, where the BNP is active. He is one of a number of Labour MPs who fear that a fall in Labour support if Mr Blair remains leader could increase the swing to the BNP in next year's local elections. Ann Cryer, who beat a challenge by the BNP leader Nick Griffin in Keighley, said she was worried that if Mr Blair remained leader the BNP would gain more seats and possibly take the balance of power in Bradford.

Paul Goggins, a Home Office minister, said the rise of the BNP was "a wake-up call to all of us to work harder to challenge racism".

A Church of England priest who is an expert in BNP activity, agreed that the Government had failed to listen to the white working class. The Rev Liz Carnelley, policy officer for the Church's regional commission in Yorkshire and Humberside, said the BNP responded to "genuine local grievances such as the end of funding for a project or the lack of affordable housing". She said: "Many vote as a protest because they are not being heard. They are often the disadvantaged who resent others receiving more. It does not mean they are signed-up Nazis. "

She said Mr Blair should do more to answer the legitimate concerns of potential BNP voters, including producing more information about asylum and immigration to counter the myths put about by racist groups. The Government had failed to fully implement the report by Ted Cantle following the riots in 2001 in Oldham and Bradford.

"Why are white communities feeling disaffected as though no one is listening to them, so much so that they are voting for a party which is openly racist?" she said. Denis MacShane, the Labour MP for Rotherham, where the BNP won almost 2,000 votes, said the BNP had taken advantage of politicians' failure to "transform the lives of too many white working-class people in poorer estates".

The BNP held its deposit in more than 30 of the constituencies it contested in the general election, and could improve on its tally of 24 councillors in next year's town hall elections. Although it did not come close to winning a Westminster seat, it picked up nearly 200,000 votes across the country, compared with 47,000 in the 2001 election.

A BNP spokesman said: "We have progressed a lot. We're now moving out of being a fringe party and into the mainstream. We consider ourselves to be the fourth party."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
voicesBryony Beynon: This is something every woman can relate to
Arts and Entertainment
film

News
Mock the tweet: Ukip leader Nigel Farage and comedian Frankie Boyle
peopleIt was a polite exchange of words, as you can imagine
Arts and Entertainment
Steven, Ella Jade and Sarah in the boardroom
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is reported to be in final negotiations to play Doctor Strange for Marvel although the casting has not yet been confirmed
film
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
Life and Style
fashion

World Beard and Moustache Championships held last week

News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Copycat culture: the Chateau Zhang Laffitte in China, top, and the building which inspired it, in Paris, bottom
architectureReplicas of Western landmarks are springing up in unlikely places
Sport
Rolando Aarons watches as his effort finds the corner of the Manchester City goal to give Newcastle the lead
footballManchester City 0 Newcastle 2: Holders crash out on home turf
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English Teacher - Saffron ...

Primary Supply Teacher - Northants

£90 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Primary School Supply Teache...

Maths Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Maths Teacher - Saffro...

Chemistry Teacher - Top School in Malaysia - January Start

£18000 - £20400 per annum + Accommodation, Flights, Medical Cover: Randstad Ed...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain