Wednesday, 11 August 2010

BNP nominations are closed.

Nominations for the British National Party's leadership contest have closed, with three candidates hoping to challenge Nick Griffin.

Pub landlord Derek Adams, London Assembly member Richard Barnbrook and ex-national elections officer Eddy Butler are the declared contenders.

The party is set to announce later if any got the backing of enough long-term BNP members to force a full ballot.

Mr Griffin, leader since 1999, has said he intends to stand down by 2013.

The anti-immigration party has no seats at Westminster although it has two Members of the European Parliament and a member of the London Assembly.

It won 1.9% of the UK vote at the general election in May - up from 0.7% of the vote it got in 2005.

'More accountable'

Under the terms of the BNP's constitution, a leadership election is called every year.

The challengers have to secure the nominating signatures of 20% of those who have been party members for at least five years to force a full vote.

Mr Griffin, as existing leader, is deemed to have been nominated automatically if a full contest goes ahead.

The BNP has not yet revealed whether any of the challengers has mustered the support necessary to go to a party-wide ballot, telling the BBC they would announce the result later on Wednesday.

The four candidates have each posted short manifestos on the BNP website.

Mr Griffin says: "In 10 years, our activists and I have turned this party from a bad political joke into a major factor in British politics. There is still much to be done, and it is best done under proven, principled and visionary leadership, without futile, time-wasting elections."

Mr Butler says he believes the party needs "a complete re-launch in order to survive", promising to implement "changes to make the party more democratically accountable" and says he would "bring all functions such as the call centre back to the mainland and close the Belfast office".

Mr Adams says "our vote increased at the general election and we have more enquiries and a larger membership than ever", he pledges to be "a clean-hands candidate who will be a fresh face".

Mr Barnbrook argues that he has the "integrity, impartiality and lack of self-interest that will command the loyalty and solidarity of all the membership" and says he can "end the strife caused by this destructive, divisive and bitter campaign".

In May, Mr Griffin said he would stand down as leader by 2013 to focus on his campaign to be re-elected as an MEP for North West England in 2014.

All four candidate statements can be found at the special leadership challenge statement page here.

Results are due any time after 1pm today

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