Despite commentators having made predictions of a big breakthrough for the BNP in the local elections that took place on 1 May, the far-right party made only moderate gains.
On the election night, the party had predicted that it would gain forty new council seats and three seats on the London Assembly, but ended up with a net gain of ten council seats and only one place on the London Assembly. The BNP took one seat in each of Thurrock, Three Rivers, Pendle and Calderdale councils, two seats each in Nuneaton and Bedworth, Amber Valley and Rotherham, and three seats in Stoke-On-Trent. While it successfully defended seats in Epping and Burnley, it lost two seats it was defending in Epping, and one in Kirklees. By the time the final results were in, fifty-five BNP councilors had been elected.
The system of proportional representation in the London mayoral election meant that parties needed more than 5 per cent of the total vote to win a seat on the London Assembly, which the BNP narrowly achieved with 5.3 per cent. Richard Barnbrook, the leader of the BNP group on Barking and Dagenham Council and who also ran as the party’s mayoral candidate, was met by protestors when he arrived to take his seat at City Hall on 9 May. Barnbrook’s election has also provoked controversy among his fellow workers in the London Assembly. Richard Barnes, the Conservative London Assembly Member for Ealing and Hillingdon said that, ‘the BNP will have problems finding secretaries and getting support from the staff here, and I will totally support people’s right to say they don’t want to serve him.’