BNP boosted by UKIP’s disappearance in Pendle
Nominations closed on Tuesday for various local elections being held across most of the UK (except London) on May 4th.
As expected there will be very few candidates from traditional nationalist parties, with most interest focused on just how far UKIP declines. In several (especially northern) counties UKIP have lost about half of their candidates.
For example, we now know that UKIP will have 36 candidates in Lancashire this year, compared to 63 last time; similarly in Cumbria the UKIP candidate list is down from 52 to 23; in North Yorkshire down from 48 to 24; in Durham down from 31 to 14; and in Derbyshire down from 54 to 38. Further south and east the party has more candidates, though weaker in the South West: down from 48 to 24 in Somerset and from 77 to 21 in Cornwall. The biggest decline is in Wiltshire, where UKIP had 54 candidates last time, but only 8 this year.
One early surprise is in Pendle (part of Lancashire County Council) where the BNP will have two candidates, neither of them opposed by UKIP. Long-serving borough councillor Brian Parker faces Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat opponents in the Pendle Central division, while his colleague John Rowe has only Labour and Conservative opponents (both Asian) in Nelson East.
Kevan Stafford of the British Democrats will contest the Loughborough South division of Leicestershire, his party’s sole candidate.
The National Front will have four candidates across the UK: chairman Kevin Bryan is standing in the Whitworth & Bacup division of Lancashire. Unfortunately (like Mr Stafford of the Brit Dems) he has UKIP opposition.
Dave MacDonald (Mr Bryan’s successor as NF chairman) is contesting the Tillydrone, Seaton & Old Aberdeen ward of Aberdeen City Council. Mr MacDonald is of course already an elected community councillor in the Aberdeen suburb of Garthdee. Also in Aberdeen, the NF’s Billy Watson is contesting the Torry & Ferryhill ward.
Mr MacDonald’s former deputy Adam Lloyd is NF candidate for Llangewydd & Brynhyfryd ward, Bridgend.
Three BNP candidates are standing in Kent: former GLA candidate Cliff Le May in Swanley; Ronald Ball in Dartford NE; and Michael Cope in Dartford West. Mr Le May is the only one without UKIP opposition: bearing in mind UKIP polled almost 20% in Swanley four years ago, he will be hopeful of a good result in their absence.
There are five BNP candidates in Essex (compared to 14 in 2013 and 75 in 2009): former Braintree parliamentary candidate Paul Hooks in Halstead; Paul Borg and Christine Winter in the two-councillor Pitsea division; Richard Perry in Heybridge & Tollesbury; and Trevor Cable in Maldon. The latter two are standing under the label Fighting Unsustainable Housing Because We Care (which the party has successfully used to win parish council seats in the past without mentioning the BNP name). We don’t yet know whether this time the name BNP will appear on the ballot paper in these two divisions.
British Resistance (the party founded by supporters of ex-UKIP parliamentary candidate Jack Sen) have two candidates in Worcestershire: former BNP organiser Carl Mason in Nunnery; and Linda Bell in Gorse Hill & Warndon.
Former BNP parliamentary candidate Dr Andrew Emerson is Patria candidate for the Chichester West division of West Sussex. Dr Emerson is also contesting a borough council by-election on the same day in East Wittering ward, Chichester.
Following the imprisonment of former party official Steve Uncles for election fraud, English Democrats candidates are notable by their absence. There are no ED candidates in the former stronghold Doncaster – which has an all-out council and mayoral election this year with no ED presence. So far we only know about party leader Robin Tilbrook, standing in his local Essex division Ongar & Rural, plus ED mayoral candidates Steve Morris in Greater Manchester and Stephen Goldspink in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Steve Morris is also contesting a by-election in Besses ward, Bury.
Robert Ashton is BNP candidate for the Louth South division of Lincolnshire, while John Moore is contesting the Hayling Island division of Hampshire.
Former Liverpool BNP organiser Pete Molloy is standing as an independent in the Spennymoor division of Durham (technically a unitary authority rather than a county council). Despite this being the home of party leader Adam Walker, there are no BNP candidates in Durham, nor in Cumbria where the party’s head office is located.
Further news of candidates and campaigns will be posted as we get it. So far H&D believes that the BNP has 12 county council candidates in total, compared to 92 at the last county elections in 2013.
According to H&D‘s (unofficial) calculation, UKIP have 1,037 candidates for the county councils this year: that’s down from 1,494 last time. There are also six unitary authorities that are directly comparable, having elections both in 2013 and this year. In those six councils combined, UKIP has 85 candidates this year, compared to 242 last time.