Griffin's future in doubt as BNP campaign implodes

The British National Party (BNP) failed in its efforts to break into the political mainstream when it suffered a succession of defeats in its key target seats.

The far-right party, led by Nick Griffin, was wiped out in its east London council stronghold of Barking and Dagenham, where its entire complement of 12 councillors lost their seats. In the parliamentary constituency of Barking, Mr Griffin came a poor third. The party had claimed it was on track to win 24 seats on the council, as well as win its first Westminster seat there.

The rout at the hands of the Labour Party, which followed a concerted local campaign by the Hope Not Hate anti-fascist coalition, raised immediate questions about the position of Mr Griffin. In the general election, the extremist group increased its share of the national vote to 1.9 per cent (562,979 votes) but it failed to gain a single MP from 300 candidates. In Stoke South, its other key parliamentary target, its deputy leader, Simon Darby, came in fourth. The party's nationwide tally of 34 councillors also fell – from 34 to 12.

There were calls last night on far-right websites for Mr Griffin to resign after a troubled campaign that started with allegations of a plot by senior members to depose him, and culminated with television footage of one of his most senior lieutenants trading punches with an Asian man in a street brawl.

The BNP leader was pushed into third place in Barking by Margaret Hodge, the tourism minister and Labour incumbent, who doubled her majority to more than 16,000 votes. She told Mr Griffin to "pack your bags and go". The 65-year-old added: "The message of Barking to the BNP is clear: get out and stay out. You are not wanted here and your vile politics have no place in British democracy."

Mr Griffin, however, vowed not to resign, saying: "I would say this to the people of Britain: it is going to be too late for Barking but it is not too late for Britain. Get rid of your masters before they get rid of us."

Labour took control of all 51 seats on Barking and Dagenham council, one of London's most impoverished boroughs, completing a strong performance for the party in the English council elections as it rebuilt its town-hall presence. In 2008, Labour suffered its worst municipal result, coming third behind the Liberal Democrats with a net loss of 331 seats.

In this year's council elections, with 125 out of 164 council polls declared, it had seized back control of eight councils – including Liverpool, St Helens and Doncaster – and won an extra 249 councillors.

The Conservatives lost eight councils and 78 councillors, but overall remained the largest party in local government, with 55 councils to Labour's 25. The Liberal Democrats completed their disappointing election performance with a net loss of two councils, including its flagship local authority Liverpool to Labour for the first time since 1998. Nick Clegg's party, which also lost Sheffield to no overall control, lost 62 councillors. However, the narrowness of the margins of victory in council wards – where seats can often be decided on a difference of a few dozen votes – means that legal challenges are likely over the polling-stations queues that prevented some from voting on Thursday night.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
film
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...

Recruitment Genius: Chief Engineer

£50000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chief Engineer is required to...

Recruitment Genius: Web Marketing Specialist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading Renewable Energy compa...

Ashdown Group: Data Warehouse & Business Intelligence Co-ordinator

£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Required skills include SQL querying, SSRS, u...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?