England & Wales

BNP fifth largest party in the UK

The BNP has been written off as an electoral force after the last election (including by me). It’s true that it lost all its seats on Barking and Dagenham Council and failed to return leader Nick Griffin as an MP. But, as Professor of Government at the University of Oxford Vernon Bogdanor points out, numbers of seats is only half the story. The BNP did worryingly well in terms of vote share. The statistics are compelling: the BNP more than doubled its 2005 vote share; nearly one in 50 votes went to the party; nearly twice as many people voted for the BNP as for the Greens; and more voted for the BNP than SNP or Plaid Cymru (although as my colleague Juliet points out Plaid only contested 6 per cent of seats and the SNP 9 per cent). That makes the BNP the fifth largest party in the UK in terms of vote share. This could be a significant trend – in particular if we are going to have a more proportional electoral system.