BNP wins first seat in assembly

Brian Brady
Sunday 04 May 2008 00:00
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Even as London digested the arrival of its new Mayor yesterday, it was also coming to terms with the election of the first British National Party member of the London Assembly.

The leading mayoral candidates pointedly walked off the stage when fifth-placed Richard Barnbrook made his speech following the announcement of the City Hall results. But the leader of the BNP group on Barking and Dagenham council was not to be denied, as his party's share of the vote crept over the 5 per cent threshold which guaranteed him a seat in the assembly.

"Congratulations to Richard, and all BNP candidates, activists and supporters," the party's website declared yesterday. "The quiet revolution is getting louder."

Thursday's results, which saw the party claiming 10 more council seats nationwide, have sent a chilling message to the rest of the political establishment. Gerry Gable, of the campaign group Hope Not Hate, which ran a huge operation across the capital to dissuade Londoners from voting for the BNP, said a victory for the party meant "hatred, violence and stupidity".

Dave Prentis, general secretary of the Unison union, said: "We are particularly worried about the effect that the election of a BNP assembly member will have on race relations and community harmony in the city."

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