Sustaining a mortal blow? The British National Party and the 2010 general and local elections

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In this article Nigel Copsey explores the British National Party's 2010 general and local election campaign and the political responses to it in two key BNP target constituencies (Barking and Stoke-on-Trent Central). As he shows, despite fractious legal action brought against the party by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, and a negligent attitude towards local activity, the BNP had approached the 2010 general and local elections in confident mood. In the biggest electoral push by an extreme-right party in British history, the BNP stood a record 338 parliamentary candidates, and no fewer than 739 local election candidates. Nick Griffin promised a major electoral breakthrough with the party expecting to make a serious challenge for the Barking parliamentary seat and to emerge as the largest single party on Barking and Dagenham council. When the results of the elections were announced, contemporary opinion had it that the BNP had taken a hammer blow, and was smashed into electoral oblivion. As Copsey reveals, the BNP was in part the author of its own electoral misfortune, but a resurgent Labour vote and a sophisticated anti-fascist campaign that created space for Labour to reconnect with its constituency were other key factors. Even though the 2010 general election was the party's best ever, the BNP sustained a major blow to its expectations. The results were a bitter pill for party members to swallow and the fortunes of Britain's leading extreme-right party have continued on a downward slide since.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-39
JournalPatterns of Prejudice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2012


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