The Smaller Parties

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Indy Politics



UKIP was celebrating a sharp rise in support expected to translate tomorrow into a flood of seats in the European Parliament. The anti-European Union party made modest gains in the council elections, gaining their first councillors in Derby and Hull and missing out in Hartlepool by just one vote. The party now has more than 40 councillors, several of whom have defected from other parties, in authorities including Walsall, North Devon and North Shropshire. In many areas, it won 15 per cent or more of the vote. The share in the London Assembly elections was lower, with UKIP performing best in Bexley and Bromley, with 16.8 per cent. Its surge in the opinion polls rattled the Conservatives, with Tory leader Michael Howard branding them "extremists".


The BNP gained a surprise first foothold in Bradford yesterday, though nationally it failed to live up to its own hype. The BNP fielded 10 candidates in a Bradford election that saw Labour lose eight of its seats. Angela Clarke took the first seat from Labour, in the Keighley West ward. Christopher Kirby took a Conservative seat in the Worth Valley ward, Arthur Redfearn took an independent seat in the Wibsey ward and James Lewthwaite took a Conservative seat in the Wyke ward. A BNP spokesman said: "Everyone was against us, but we've done fantastically well. Bradford was a major result for us." The BNP also won three seats on Epping Forest District Council. But the party was only one seat up nationally, to 17.


The Green party said it was delighted after winning "significant gains" in the local elections as it claimed 10 per cent of the vote in seats it contested. The party won nine more seats, boosting its total number of councillors in England to 61. It lost out in London where anti-Iraq feeling split the vote. The party, which had three Green assembly members, saw its support drop as it battled for votes with George Galloway's Respect Coalition which outperformed expectations in the capital where its candidate gained 3.52 per cent of the vote. The Greens won councillors in Norwich, Sheffield and Watford and helped oust Labour from Oxford City Council. "People voted for us because they understood that the environment is important," said a spokesman.