UK Politics

Challengers fail to get backing to force BNP contest

Nick Griffin
Image caption Nick Griffin will remain BNP leader for at least another year

A British National Party leadership contest has ended after three candidates hoping to challenge Nick Griffin failed to win enough support.

None of the candidates raised the 840 signatures of long-term party members required to force a full ballot.

Pub landlord Derek Adams received four votes, London Assembly member Richard Barnbrook received 23 and ex-national elections officer Eddy Butler got 214.

Mr Griffin had 995 nominations, so will stay as leader.

He has been in that job since 1999, and has said he intends to stand down by 2013.

The anti-immigration party has no seats at Westminster, although it has two Members of the European Parliament and a member of the London Assembly.

It won 1.9% of the UK vote at the general election in May - up from 0.7% of the vote in 2005.

'More accountable'

Under the terms of the BNP's constitution, a leadership election is called every year.

A total of 4,200 BNP members were eligible to vote at this stage, according to a statement on the BNP website.

The challengers had to secure the nominating signatures of 20% - or at least 840 signatures - of those who have been party members for at least two years to force a full vote.

The four candidates had each posted short manifestos on the BNP website.

Mr Griffin said: "In 10 years, our activists and I have turned this party from a bad political joke into a major factor in British politics. There is still much to be done, and it is best done under proven, principled and visionary leadership, without futile, time-wasting elections."

Mr Butler said he believed the party needed "a complete relaunch in order to survive", promising to implement "changes to make the party more democratically accountable" and said he would "bring all functions such as the call centre back to the mainland and close the Belfast office".

Mr Adams said: "Our vote increased at the general election and we have more enquiries and a larger membership than ever". He pledged to be "a clean-hands candidate who will be a fresh face".

Mr Barnbrook argued that he had the "integrity, impartiality and lack of self-interest that will command the loyalty and solidarity of all the membership" and said he could "end the strife caused by this destructive, divisive and bitter campaign".

In May, Mr Griffin said he would stand down as leader by 2013 to focus on his campaign to be re-elected as an MEP for North West England in 2014.

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