BNP losing ground in Grays

Jim Jepps

The BNP stood candidates in two by-elections in the Grays Riverside and the Homesteads wards of Thurrock council this Thursday (1st Dec 2005). In Sept. 2003 the BNP won a shock by-election in the Grays Riverside ward, but this councillor was rapidly kicked out again in June 2004.

Although unfortunately the support for the BNP has not completely gone in the area the defeat in 2004 has been followed by a further step backward at this by election where the BNP came in third place.

 

Grays Riverside ward results

Labour

 575

Tories

 348

BNP

 340

Lib Dems

 92

Last year in this ward the BNP received 479 votes which means the BNP have lost around 30% of their voters since then.

A hoax UAF leaflet was distributed in both wards. The leaflet shocked local communities and appears to be an attempt by the extreme right to stir up racism in the area. The leaflet attempts to link UAF and Unison to Islamic extremism and promote racial hatred.  UAF and Thurrock UNISON have contacted the local police, and an investigation is underway.

Officers were also contacted by a number of residents in Hastings Close, Maple Road and Argent Street who were concerned about material in the leaflet in which an organisation called the London-East Islamic Movement calls for radical, aggressive action against the west.

Maureen McPherson, Unison branch secretary said: "I'm absolutely appalled a leaflet which is clearly designed to promote racial tension has been distributed.

"I can categorically state that Thurrock Unison has no knowledge of the leaflet and is not associated with the supposed writer.

"I should imagine that whoever wrote this leaflet assumes that the Thurrock people will be fooled into believing that Thurrock is harbouring extremists. Clearly from the number of complaints Thurrock people do not want to be associated with such obvious garbage. Inflammatory racial literature is a criminal offence and Thurrock Unison's name has been used illegally.

"I have contacted the police regarding the leaflets and should Thurrock Unison find the perpetrator we will request criminal proceedings to go ahead."

 

Homesteads ward results

In the Homesteads ward the BNP vote fell far lower than they had hoped for coming bottom with less than 10% of the vote.

Labour 661
Conservative 534
Lib Dem 220
BNP 150

BNP candidate John Cotter received 404 votes in the West Thurrock and South Stifford in last year's council elections but there was no BNP in the homesteads ward in 2004.