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Griffin’s failure ‘is a defeat for vile politics of the BNP’

Weakened by internal divisions and a campaign which culminated in one of his senior lieutenants trading punches with an Asian man in a street brawl, Nick Griffin yesterday failed dramatically in his attempt to force his party into the political mainstream when he suffered a crushing defeat in its East London stronghold.

The leader of the British National Party was pushed into third place in the Westminster seat of Barking after Margaret Hodge, the Tourism Minister and Labour incumbent, increased her majority to more than 16,000 votes and told Mr Griffin to “pack your bags and go”.

A jubilant Mrs Hodge (65) said: “The message of Barking to the BNP is clear: get out and stay out. You are not wanted here and your vile politics have no place in British democracy.”

The defeat completed a night of contrasting fortunes for the BNP. The far-right group increased its share of the national vote to 1.9%, but failed to return an MP.

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