BNP lose by-election after church campaign

By staff writers
February 6, 2009

The British National Party have lost a council by-election, following a campaign by churches to keep them out.

The far-right party ran a 'British jobs for British workers campaign' but fell even further behind the first place party in yesterday's vote.

The far-right party had come second in last May`s Tameside council election in the Newton ward, Hyde, polling 846 votes - just 278 votes behind Labour on 1124.

Yesterday the BNP polled a similar number of votes. However Labour won the by-election with a significantly increased majority which almost doubled to 490 votes. The result suggests that voters united to keep the BNP out.

The turnout was just 1% lower than last year.

Hyde is predominantly white and working class with a tradition of large manufacturing firms based in the area. It also has a small Asian community.

The local campaign saw Hyde`s church leaders issuing a joint statement telling people to vote for parties that "do not foster fear and hatred".

Government Work and Pensions minister James Purnell, the local MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, launched Labour`s campaign, with unions, religious leaders and anti-fascist groups all running a "Keep the BNP out" message.

With the recession biting, worries had mounted that voters may turn their backs on the mainstream parties.

A letter was signed by half-a-dozen clergy and then sent to voters urging them not to vote for the far-right party.

In the letter, the church leaders condemned the ‘racist history and policies’ of the BNP.

The by-election followed the death of Labour councillor Margaret Oldham.

The full results are as follows:

Ball-Foster, Peter S Liberal Democrats 172
Fitzpatrick, Phillip Marti Labour Party 1,379
Gauci, Rosalind Christella, British National Party 889
McManus, Angela Louise UK Independence Party 33
Rolland, Nigel Arthur Green Party 69
Welsh, John Paul Conservative Party 485

The turnout was 32%.

Keywords:bnp | hyde | by-election | tameside
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