UK Politics

BNP seeking to defy poll trends to retain EU presence

Nick Griffin Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Griffin is one of the party's last elected representatives

The BNP is hoping to retain a presence in the European Parliament despite opinion polls suggesting a sharp fall in its support since 2009.

The party, which won two seats five years ago, has called for the UK to leave the EU without a referendum.

It has also called for an end to all immigration to the UK.

BNP leader Nick Griffin has claimed that millions of people will vote for "anti-immigration" parties, despite "bias" by the media over the issue.

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During the campaign, Mr Griffin has claimed it was his party, not UKIP, which had brought the debates on cutting immigration and leaving the EU to public prominence.

Attacking UKIP

He has attacked Nigel Farage's party as "plastic patriots" - saying UKIP would continue to allow immigration from all parts of the world - and suggested support is "shifting" the BNP's way.

"A lot of people are realising that voting UKIP to deal with immigration is like putting a sticking plaster on a cancer patient," he told the BBC News channel.

"The patient needs radical surgery not a piece of blue sticking plaster."

The BNP won almost a million votes in 2009 but the party has seen its opinion poll ratings fall since then and has lost members - including one of its MEPs Andrew Brons, who has set up his own party - amid internal feuding.

'Tremendous response'

Setting out his opposition to the EU, Mr Griffin said member states had become more in favour of starting wars and that his intervention had been vital in preventing a Western conflict with Syria last year.

He has also claimed that the UK was "full" and the only way of effectively controlling immigration was to leave the European Union.

Mr Griffin came eighth in the North West regional poll in 2009 to claim a seat in Brussels, with 8% of the vote, as the party secured 6% of the nationwide vote.

His party's national opinion poll ratings are currently between 0% and 1%, but Mr Griffin said he had been getting a "tremendous response" from voters in the region.

The BNP is fielding a total of 70 candidates in the European elections. However, the number of candidates it is putting up in local elections in England is lower than in previous years.

In 2006, the party won 12 seats in Barking and Dagenham in east London but this time around it is only fielding candidates in four wards. It currently has two borough councillors in England.