BNP achieves 'worrying' support

POLITICIANS have today branded the BNP's result in a local by-election "worrying" and fear it will pave the way for the far right party to attempt to infiltrate Suffolk.

POLITICIANS have today branded the BNP's result in a local by-election "worrying" and fear it will pave the way for the far right party to attempt to infiltrate Suffolk.

The British National Party failed in its attempt to gain a foothold in Yoxford - but proved they have twice as many supporters as Labour in that area.

Liberal Democrat candidate John Slater scooped the seat with 455 votes - snatching the seat from the Conservatives.

But BNP candidate Paul Goodchild polled 153, leaving Labour candidate Timothy Williams trailing behind with just 80 votes.

The far-right party has now voiced its intention to stand again in future elections.

Mr Goodchild said: "This result is just the start for our party in rural areas. We fought on local issues and I am pleased with the result.

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"I did not expect to win and was aiming to achieve 10pc of the vote and ended up with 15pc.

"The BNP will continue to stand in elections and I think their increasing prominence reflects a mood amongst the British people."

Peter Leech, a member of the Socialist Alliance and Anti-Nazi League, helped to distribute Anti-BNP leaflets in the Yoxford area prior to the by-election.

He said he was "very worried" by the result.

He said: "I think it's definitely a cause for concern. It's not a good indication for those of us who hate their policies. They will obviously feel heartened by it and I have no doubt that will now look to Ipswich.

"The anti-racist alliance in society has a duty to keep on revealing just how pernicious their politics are."

More than 58pc of the voters in the ward, which includes Westleton and Middleton, turned out for the Suffolk Coastal District Council contest.

Winning Lib Dem John Slater refused to shake hands with Mr Goodchild after the result was declared.

He told him: "It's nothing personal, it's political."

Mr Slater said: "Although this is a decisive victory for the Lib Dems, it is an even better result that the BNP has been seen off. There is no place for political parties who preach extremism."

Tory Warwick Faville said while he was disappointed not to hold a seat for his party, he was delighted the BNP had been defeated.

Labour's candidate Tim Williams, a university tutor who lives in Yoxford, said: "Residents didn't want to ruin the reputation of their community. They voted for the most likely candidate to keep the BNP out.

Suffolk Coastal Tory MP John Gummer, whose constituency covers Yoxford, said: "I am very sorry that 153 people felt able to vote for such an unpleasant and disgraceful party as the BNP."

Euro MP Bashir Khanbhai, the Conservative party's leading minority ethnic politician in East Anglia said the result demonstrated the BNP had no place in rural England where "people uphold traditional family values and want to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours".

Full result: John Slater (Liberal Democrat) 455; Warwick Faville (Conservative) 319; Paul Goodchild (British National Party) 153; Timothy Williams (Labour) 80. Turnout was 58%.

Result in May 1 2003: Peter Wragg (Conservative) 412, John Barrett (Green) 258

n Voting also took place yesterday in the Felixstowe Ferry division of Suffolk county council, caused by the resignation of Tory member Margaret Harris.

The result was: Harriet Bennett (Labour) 281; Cherrie MacGregor (Liberal Democrat) 456; and Ann Rodwell (Conservative), 1,401. Turnout 34.3%.

N What do you think about the BNP's result? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email or visit the forum at