No BNP Sheffield candidates for first time in decade

editorial image
0
Have your say

THE British National Party has not put forward a single election candidate for the Sheffield Council elections in May - the first time in a decade they have been unrepresented at the polls.

Mainstream politicians and anti-fascist campaigners have hailed it a victory for voters, who they say have ‘completely rejected’ the far-right party.

Just two years ago the BNP put up 13 candidates in the city’s elections and in 2008 polled up to a quarter of the vote in some wards in the north of the city.

But since then the BNP has been consumed by petty infighting and the party’s fortunes have fallen across the country.

As recently as November last year BNP members protested against proposed sex education lessons at Grenoside Primary School.

In 2008 eight candidates stood for the party - including John Sheldon, who came second in the Southey ward with 25 per cent of the vote - but last year they only put up two candidates.

Sheffield has never had a BNP councillor - but the party has put up candidates in local elections every year since 2002.

Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore said: “The BNP have been completely rejected in Sheffield in the past few years.

“The fact that they are not standing candidates in the local elections this year shows that there is no appetite for their extremism amongst Sheffielders.”

Paul Scarrott, secretary of Sheffield Unite Against Fascism, said: “The overwhelming majority of people in Sheffield reject the BNP.

“They’ve never even come close to winning a seat in this city.”

Adam Walker, the BNP’s Yorkshire spokesman said: “The reason is the political persecution that our candidates face and the violent behaviour towards them. Our campaign has suffered as a result.”

The party has five candidates standing in Rotherham and four in Barnsley on the May 3 elections.

In 2003 the BNP fielded 217 candidates nationally, winning 13 council seats and by 2006 it had 16 councillors.

But since then the party’s standing has collapsed and now they have just one BNP councillor nationwide - Coun Catherine Duffy who represents Charnwood in Leicestershire.