Press Release: BNP gain foothold in Europe

The BNP have won two European Parliament seats: one in Yorkshire and Humber; another in the Northwest. However, they failed to gain seats in London, and in the Midlands.

Nick Griffin was elected as Euro MEP for the North West. Griffin only needed around 8% of the Euro votes across the region to be elected to Strasbourg, against the 6.4% he polled in the last European Elections in 2004.

Some commentators have stated that this is a disaster particularly for the Labour Party. It is also an extremely worrying sign to see the BNP’s support increase since 2004.

Simon Woolley, Director of Operation Black Vote, said:
It would appear that the BNP have gained from low voter turnout and a disgruntled electorate that has sought to bash the main parties. The expenses scandal and the disarray of the Labour Party, especially over the past week, have meant voters having less confidence in the leading party to rule the country efficiently. This has led to gains for extreme right parties in the UK. The racist BNP's Nick Griffin's election in particular is a disaster for politics, a disaster Black communities in the UK and for immigrants and those seeking asylum across Europe

Ashok Viswanathan, Assistant Director of Operation Black Vote said:
“The rise of racism in society, such as attacks on asylum seekers, immigrants, Muslim communities and a debate on the merits of multiculturalism for almost a decade, has meant that racism is becoming more ‘normal’ and acceptable. This is underpinning the BNP’s vote. Low voter turnout has also been a cause for this BNP victory."

Abdus Shuman, Assistant Events Co-ordinator at Operation Black Vote said:
"From the results it is quite clear that more needs to be done to ensure that in further elections voter turnout increases to the extent that the BNP are blocked completely. It is dismaying to know that the BNP could have been stopped in these elections had more people voted.”

Wyn Grant, a politics professor at Warwick University said:
"It's clear from the Netherlands that the populist right is going to do well in many areas. It's a trend across Europe, and it's not surprising the global recession exacerbates tensions especially with one in ten Europeans unemployed."

The polling evidence across Europe seems to suggest the rise of racist parties is not only a problem facing the UK, but that right-wing parties will also have an impact in other European countries. Geert Wilder’s Dutch far-right Freedom Party was given more than 15 percent of the vote in the Netherlands and just one seat less than the ruling Christian Democrats. The Freedom Party despises Islam, opposes immigration, and wants the European Parliament abolished.