The far right British National Party is to lose its last district councillor, which makes its demise “official”, one campaigner said.
The BNP, which advocates stopping all immigration and calls mosques “symbols of territorial conquest”, had 55 district councillors at its peak and won 943,000 votes in the 2009 European Parliament elections, 6% of all ballots cast.
Its then leader Nick Griffin even appeared on BBC’s Question Time in the same year.
But after years of decline, its last remaining district councillor is not seeking re-election.
Brian Parker, who sits on Pendle Borough Council in Lancashire, is not among the candidates nominated for the May 3 elections and there is no BNP candidate to replace him.
Nick Lowles, who founded the Hope Not Hate campaign group, tweeted the BNP had been “finished for a while” as a political force but said its demise was now “official”.
In November 2016, Parker was reported to have left the BNP, prompting headlines that the BNP had lost its last district councillor.
But the next day, Parker announced he had reversed his decision and was remaining with the party.
When reached by phone, Parker told HuffPost he was standing down because he “had so much work to do”, including spending four nights a week caring for his mother alongside his brothers.
“Us Parkers look after our own,” he added. He said he was not quitting the party and had just renewed his membership.
“The party manifesto is right and has been all along,” Parker added.
He added he had quit the party “for about 12 hours” in 2016 but said the media reports about it were an example of “misinformation” brought about when “the Government and the BBC infiltrate the party to bring it down from the inside”.
Parker was the party’s candidate for the Pendle constituency in 2017. He ran on a platform of ending foreign end, restoring the death penalty and protecting the green belt.
A BNP spokesman said: “Brian Parker is the most successful BNP councillor ever, serving three terms. We wish him well in his retirement.”
The spokesman said the party still had “dozens” of councillors on parish and town councils, the lowest level of British municipal government.
“Because our members are true patriots, they are honoured to serve their communities in the much under appreciated positions as community, parish and town councillors,” the spokesman said.
“Over the years we have found that other political parties and indeed the media disgracefully discount these essential unpaid roles and are obsessed with paid positions only.”
He added the party would be standing “numerous candidates” in the May elections and said the party would focus on parish and town councils, which he called “essentially the bedrock of the British political system”.
In the 2013 local elections, the BNP was left with just two district councillors, Parker and Cathy Duffy, who lost her seat in 2015.
It lost both its MEPs in the 2014 European Parliament elections, including Griffin.
In those elections, the party submitted a film depicting Muslims swilling alcopops and chasing pre-pubescent girls as its election broadcast but Ofcom rejected it.
Griffin quit later that year and was replaced by national organiser Adam Walker, who called Britain “a multicultural shit hole”.
Griffin was later expelled for trying to “destabilise” the party.