BNP snatches win by 56 votes

THE British National Party last night charged to victory in Illingworth, snatching the seat from Labour.

For Richard Mullhall, one of the BNPs most active members, it was third time lucky.

When he stood in the ward in 1998 and 1999 he attracted little more than 100 votes.

This time he polled 896.

It was only 56 more than Labour's Zoe Marston, who was seeking election for the first time, but enough to give him a cherished seat in the council chamber for the next 12 months.

Mr Mullhall looked pensive while the votes were being counted and disappeared from North Bridge Leisure Centre as soon as he realised he had won.

Together with Coun Adrian Marsden, who snatched the Mixenden seat for the BNP in January, they now form an official group on the council.

As a result, they are entitled to an office in the town hall and whoever becomes the official leader will qualify for an enhanced allowance.

Mr Mullhall, who lives at Mozeley Drive, Illingworth, Halifax, is 35 and has lived in Illingworth for more than 30 years.

Zoe Marston, of Spring Hall Close, Shelf, is 46 and has two children, a son and a daughter. She has a degree in social policy and works at Mixenden Parents Resource Centre and Illingworth Community Cen-tre.

Conservative candidate Richard Maycock, an independent financial adviser of Savile Park Road, Halifax, was bottom of the poll with 580 votes.

The result means that Illingworth is now represented by Coun Mullhall, Labour Coun Tom McElroy, who was elected last year with a majority of 332 and Conservative Coun Geoffrey Wallace who was elected in 2000 with a majority of 315.