Searchlight Magazine

Three far-right parties in late November by-elections

Far-right candidates are standing in the three parliamentary by-elections on 29 November. The UK Independence Party will also compete for the anti-immigration vote, which will provide a useful indication of the extent to which it can benefit from the British National Party’s current disarray.

Peter Foreman represents the British National Party in Middlesbrough against seven other candidates. In the 2010 general election there, the BNP polled 5.8% against the UKIP’s 3.7%.

In Rotherham, where 11 candidates are standing, Marlene Guest for the British National Party faces David Wildgoose for the English Democrats as well as Jane Collins for the UKIP. Also of interest is Clint Bristow who stands with no description, not even independent, but has been exposed as the English Defence League’s Doncaster organiser.

A violent thug, Bristow has been arrested several times at EDL demonstrations and was imprisoned for seven days in October 2011 after admitting using threatening behaviour, Hope Not Hate reports. He was also given a conviction-related Asbo (Crasbo).

The EDL is not a registered political party, which explains why Bristow did not put his political allegiance on his nomination paper, rather than it being convenience as has been suggested. Although Stephen Lennon, the EDL leader, told The Independent on 11 October that the EDL was going to become a political party, it has not yet done so. Perhaps events got in the way, such as Lennon’s remand in custody until his trial in January on a charge of using a false document to travel abroad.

In the general election in Rotherham the BNP polled 10.4% and the UKIP 5.9%. The English Democrats did not stand. The BNP will hope to capitalise on the sexual grooming and MPs’ expenses issues.

The BNP is not standing in Croydon North, but Richard Edmonds, a former BNP officer, will represent the National Front. The UKIP candidate is Winston McKenzie, a perennial election candidate for several parties who stood as the UKIP candidate for mayor of London in 2008. In the general election the UKIP polled 1.7% and no fascist candidate stood.

As expected, Andrew Brons’s new British Democratic Party is not contesting any of these elections. The party will be launched publicly in a series of regional meetings around the country, the first on 24 November, and is not yet ready to fight elections especially if it would mean going head-to-head with the BNP at such an early stage in its existence. Edmonds is on the steering group of the BDP, but is standing for the NF.

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