The British National Party has won its first two seats in the European Parliament following elections last Thursday.
As Labour’s share of the overall vote slumped to an all time low, leaving them in third place behind UKIP (Untied Kingdom Independence Party), smaller parties like the Greens, UKIP and BNP were the beneficiaries.
BNP leader, Nick Griffin was elected for the North West region while Andrew Brons picked up another BNP seat in Yorkshire and Humber, where it won 10% of the vote.
Mr Griffin told the BBC that the BNP was not racist and had no problem with immigrants here legally and “contributing”, but gained votes from other parties because it “spoke openly about the problem of immigration.”
Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman described the BNP result as “terrible”.
Mr Griffin was elected to the European Parliament even though the BNP polled fewer votes in the region than it had in 2004 – but the slump in Labour support meant its share of the vote increased.
Under the ‘proportional representation’ system used in the European elections, this meant that although the BNP came fifth in the vote in the region the party won a seat.
Mr Griffin told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme:
“There’s a huge amount of racism in this country, overwhelmingly it is directed towards the indigenous British majority, which is one reason we’ve done so well in these elections.”
He said “the indigenous majority [were] the second-class citizens in every possible sphere, not as a consequence of the immigrants themselves, but because our ruling elite has made them second-class citizens.”
“The Labour Party, the Lib Dems and the Tories, by leaving the door to Britain open, has forced people to turn to a party which speaks openly about the problem of immigration and says that while there might be a few good things about it there’s also a lot of bad things.”
The BNP won more than 120,139 votes in the Yorkshire region, slightly less than in 2004, but enough to take one of the six seats on offer in the region.
The BNP targeted the North West during the campaign, having had earlier success in local council elections where the party won one of its three English county council seats in Burnley in Thursday’s elections.
The Conservatives were the main winners on the night taking a 27% share of the vote an 25 MEP seats (up 1).
UKIP gained one seat and 16.5% of the vote beating Labour into third place with only 15.7% of the national vote.
Despite the expenses scandal and expected backlash against the main parties, independent candidates and smaller parties did not gain any seats and in the main had disappointing results.
Of the migrant candidates fighting seats in London, only Sri Lankan Tamil candidate, Jan Jananayagam, came close to gaining a seat, with just over 50,000 votes – more than the heavily backed Jury team and almost as many as the Christian Party-Christian Peoples Alliance.
Gene Alcantara, the Filipino British Independent got just under 2000 votes, but was disappointed that more people from his own 250,000 strong Filipino community did not turn out to support him.
Other independent candidates targeting migrant communities, such as Haroon Saad and Sohale Rahman, also suffered from voter apathy.
For full results see the BBC website.
Immigration Matters Comment
Whilst the BNP have no realistic chance of gaining power in the UK, the results do indicate that the British people are concerned about immigration, as well as the growth of European legislation and the Lisbon Treaty.
UKIP, standing on similar anti Europe and immigration policies pulled in 2.5 million votes.
Gordon Brown looks all but finished after these disastrous results. Tonight, the battered Prime Minister addressed his party in Parliament and early signs are that he has managed to hang on and rally MP’s support.
Labour have traditionally favoured a positive immigration policy and have recently introduced a points based system for migration.
David Cameron’s Conservative Party look certain to win the next general election, which could see a cap imposed on immigration and a general hardening of immigration policy.
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