Socialist Worker

Victory for anti-fascists as BNP loses its last Burnley council seat

by Anindya Bhattacharyya
Issue No. 2301

Unite Against Fascism campaigners in Burnley last month  (Pic: Paul Jenkins)

Unite Against Fascism campaigners in Burnley last month (Pic: Paul Jenkins)

The fascist British National Party (BNP) has been cleared out of its former stronghold of Burnley, Lancashire, for the first time in a decade.

Sharon Wilkinson, the Nazi BNP's sole remaining councillor in the town, was roundly defeated by the Labour candidate in Hapton with Park ward.

The BNP also lost one of its remaining two seats in neighbouring Pendle council. It has also lost two sitting councillors in Amber Valley and a further two in Rotherham.

Nick Griffin's BNP made its first electoral breakthrough in Burnley in 2002 when the fascists took three council seats.

At one point the Nazis grew to become the official opposition in the borough. But ten years of consistent and unrelenting anti-fascist campaigning has now brought them down.

Paul Jenkins from Unite Against Fascism (UAF) spoke to Socialist Worker about the campaign against Wilkinson and the BNP.

'We covered the whole ward with leaflets and knocked on doors with the message that the BNP was a Nazi party,' he said. 'Wilkinson likes to pose as a 'respectable' councillor involved in community work. We went out to expose her.

'This is a huge blow to the Nazis in the North West of England. It's a springboard to driving Wilkinson out of her Lancashire County Council seat next year—and driving Griffin out of his Euro seat the year after that.'

Update 3pm: The BNP has now lost every council seat it was defending in this year's elections. BNP councillors in Calderdale, Epping Forest, Nuneaton and Three Rivers were all booted out.

Go to the Unite Against Fascism website for more on the elections, the BNP and other far right parties:

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