By Ian Dunt
A BNP supporter has been elected as mayor of a town just three miles from where race riots shocked Britain.
John Cave was overwhelmingly chosen to become next year's mayor of Padiham, near Burnley.
The role is entirely non-political, but supporters will treat it as a sign that the party is not yet finished, despite appalling results at the last general election.
"It is a vote of confidence. This is my home town and I was born here. It is all about Padiham and Padiham is not about politics," Mr Cave pledged yesterday.
But Bishop of Burnley John Goddard criticised the election.
"It will be interesting to see if he acts in the best traditions of a mayor in the community, and I pray he does, as he will have to reject the philosophy of the BNP," he said.
"If he retains the BNP political philosophy then how can he expect to serve and represent the whole of the community?"
Candidates for the mayoralty do not stand on a party political platform and the town council has very limited powers.