The British National Party (BNP) has now been removed from the UK’s register of political parties. This came after the party failed to meet its annual requirement to submit its registration details on time. Officials from the party claimed this was just a clerical error which would be sorted soon, but in reality does this signal the end of the Far-Right party?
The BNP emerged as an electoral and political force towards the end of the last decade. In 2008 they secured a seat on the London Assembly and in 2009 they won 2 seats in the European Parliament including one for leader Nick Griffin who went on to appear on Question Time later that year. In the 2010 General Election they fielded a record 338 candidates gaining 563,743 votes but winning no seats with Griffin finishing third in Barking.
The aftermath of these elections saw infighting in the party and challenges to Griffin’s leadership leading to a failure to win any council seats in the 2012 and 2013 local elections. Furthermore in October 2012 Richard Brons, the party’s other MEP (after Griffin) left the party leaving Griffin as the BNP’s sole representative in the European Parliament. In May 2014 Griffin lost his seat in the European Parliament and a few months later lost the leadership. Later he was expelled from the party after being found guilty of making disparaging remarks to a colleague. The last General Election saw the BNP only manage to field 8 candidates with a declining vote share of 99.7% from 2010 signalling the end of the BNP as a political force.
The BNP in their heyday appealed to a significant portion of the British electorate. Although these voters have largely deserted the party, there is little evidence that they have changed their views. The success of other Far-Right movements such as the English Defence League and Britain First show a hard-line stance towards immigration and Islam remain popular with some. Therefore any claims of victory over the Far-Right in this country are premature.
As a political force the BNP have become irrelevant. They have fallen from their highpoint and have torn themselves apart. This will cause few tears in the political arena. However, while questions about immigration and security remain we will never truly be rid of political parties of this ilk and for this reason alone we should be cautious about being overly jubilant.
Article by Mike Hough
Photograph – The Commentator