THE Examiner has tracked down some of the voters who have helped the British National Party to claim their first victory in Kirklees.
Father-of-two David Exley, 39, won the Heckmondwike ward seat in Thursday's by-election.
He beat the Liberal Democrats into second place by 114 votes and the election attracted a higher than average turnout.
The result was greeted with anger and disappointment by other political leaders.
Some residents of Dale Lane council estate in Heckmondwike backed Clr Exley and were willing to talk about their reasons for helping to vote in the far right party.
But none were willing to give their names or have their photographs taken.
They felt identifying themselves could lead to reprisals from other sections of the community.
One 26-year-old man revealed the BNP's majority could have been far higher.
"I have many friends who said they were going to vote for the BNP, but then didn't vote at all," he said. "I have Asian friends too and I've no objection to British Asians.
"But over the last few years there has been a growing resentment to asylum seekers and others coming into this country.
"The world's a huge place and Britain is just a dot on it, yet why are we getting all these asylum seekers? It's because this country gives them a home and feeds their families.
"I was brought up in a one-parent family and we lived in poverty until I was 14 and could look after my younger sister. Only then could my parent go out to work and earn a living.
"Yet people come to this country and are given everything. They should get nothing unless they work for it. If we didn't work, the banks and building societies would be quick to repossess our houses."
And he had a stark warning for the other political parties, claiming the rise in the number of people voting was due to more younger people supporting the BNP.
"Whichever party takes a strong line on asylum seekers will get our vote," he said. "This strength of feeling has been going on for a while, but the mainstream political parties have done nothing about it.
"The BNP is now saying what people want to hear."
A 32-year-old woman said: "We just feel the Asians get everything and we get nothing. We've been trying to get speed ramps on this estate for five years and nothing has happened so far.
"When a lot of British people need houses why are we housing people from other countries?
"If we went to Pakistan we would be expected to live by their culture. Yet the same thing doesn't happen when they come here."
An 81-year-old lifelong Labour supporter who voted again for Labour in the by-election said: "This election result must be seen as a wake-up call to the other political parties. In that sense, it could be seen as a good thing."
A 67-year-old man was shocked to learn of the BNP victory.
He said: "I wouldn't let the BNP canvassers through the garden gate when they came round.
"I think it's the younger ones who are voting for them. I had an idea the BNP would win, but I'm still shocked."
WE ASKED FOR YOUR VIEWS ON THE BNP VICTORY
Commission for Racial Equality: For the 17th time, we have the election of a BNP councillor, which will no doubt create more anxiety among the people of Heckmondwike. What is most disappointing in this instance is the inability of the mainstream political parties to stop this from happening. Indeed, in this instance, the actions of the local Labour Party have positively contributed to this result. It is clear that if the Labour Party's vote had not been split this result could have been avoided.
Louis Day, Bradley: Everyone has a right to put up for the council. Why all the fuss over this man? We have Asian people and black people in our councils and in Parliament and it is wrong that people criticise people who choose to stand.
Patricia Caine, Oakes: I think it is absolutely wonderful. I congratulate this young man and wish him luck. I just wish the BNP would stand in Huddersfield.
Julie McFarlane, Mirfield: I want to congratulate Clr Exley. It is good that the people of the area have woken up to the fact there is a political party that listens to what working people are saying. We are ready for a change.
Barbara Kaye, Oakes: I don't know about Clr Exley's manifesto, but I know I am no racist and I am proud to be British. His success is the result of the actions of a deceitful Government and the other parties.
Derrick Legassick, Mirfield: I think they have done very well and it is time someone showed these others what to do.
Anon, of Crosland Moor: I am pleased the BNP has got in at Heckmondwike and if they put up in Dalton I would be happy to support them. I used to be a member of the Labour Party and I have informed them of my views.
Sandra Brown, Thongsbridge: It's fantastic, and if the BNP put a candidate up in my area I would vote for them. I'm sick of Government spin. We need a new party!
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