BNP’s Griffin to mount Barking challenge

British National party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin will stand in Barking at the general election, he has announced.

The far-right challenge to incumbent MP Margaret Hodge, the Labour culture minister, will target housing and education problems.

The announcement came after Mr Griffin wrapped up his party’s annual conference in Wigan.

“We’re going to spend more on that campaign than we’ve ever spent on any election campaign before in a single constituency, many times over,” he pledged.

The BNP will target around six parliamentary seats in the coming general election and stand in around 200.

Having never won a Westminster seat before, it is in their leader Mr Griffin they have their most realistic chance of gaining an MP.

“People don’t really vote for a party,” Mr Griffin added.

“They vote for a person. They vote for someone they recognise, someone they identify with, someone who they respect, someone they can visualise when they’re casting that vote.”

Mr Griffin’s controversial appearance on the BBC’s Question Time programme was hailed by anti-fascist campaigners as an expose of his far-right beliefs.

But it also earned him enormous publicity, leading many to fear he could attract more votes than the nine per cent he won in 2005 in Keighley.

The BNP came third in the east London seat of Barking in 2005, taking 4,916 votes to the Conservatives’ 4,943. Ms Hodge took 13,826, giving her a majority of 8,883.