The moment BNP man realised he had lost

DISGRACED BNP councillor Richard Mulhall has been ousted from Calderdale Council.

Barry Collins took the Illingworth and Mixen-den seat for Labour with 1,369 votes, a majority of 395.

Mr Mulhall, who had been a council member since 2003, was convicted of benefit fraud in October. He cheated taxpayers out of 3,000 in housing benefit, council tax benefit and jobseekers' allowance.

Mr Mulhall was the leader of the BNP group on Calderdale Council.

Despite fielding candidates in 12 wards the party failed to win any seats and has been left with only one member on the council, Geoffrey Wallace.

After the result Coun Collins said: "I am really proud that so many people voted for me and I will try to repay them by working hard for all sections of the local community.

"Labour has no quarrel with ordainary BNP voters, only with the BNP itself and its politics of hatred and division."

Councillor Collins, of Savile Park, Halifax, was chairman of Calderdale Labour Party for eight years in the 1980s and 90s and became chairman again two years ago. This was his first time standing for election to the council. He is a playwright whose work includes Judgement, The Strongest Man in the World and The Hills of Heaven. He is also chairman of governors at Ash Green School, Mixenden.

A by-election was held in the ward in February after the death of Labour councillor Tom McElroy. Judy Gannon retained the seat for Labour, polling 1,104 votes – just 70 more than BNP candidate Thomas Bates.

Councillor Gannon said: "I am elated we have broken the stranglehold of the BNP and looking forward to working with Barry Collins to do more for the area."

John Hardy, who polled 612 votes for the Conservatives in the ward, said: "It is an interesting election following so closely on the by-election. But as far as I was concerned, it was a very fair election and the result we could expect."