British National Party councillor predicts he will take Blackburn seat from foreign secretary in 2005 election.
A self-employed builder from the far-right British National Party is set to stand against foreign secretary Jack Straw at the next general election.

Robin Evans, 38, who snatched a council seat from the Liberal Democrats last November in the Mill Hill ward of Blackburn, is likely to be selected as the BNP candidate for the town.

Simon Bennett, the BNP's Blackburn constituency organiser, said Evans would almost certainly be the party's candidate because of the public profile he has built up as a councillor. Evans is one of five BNP councillors in the country, and the only elected representative on the Blackburn and Darwen council.

Blackburn's sitting MP, 56-year-old Straw, has dismissed the BNP in the past as preaching the "politics of racial exclusion". He had a majority of 8249 over the Conservative candidate at the last election in 2001. The BNP did not stand.

I will win for the same reason I won before – local people are cheesed off

BNP candidate Robin Evans

Evans predicted that he would beat Straw at the next election, which is expected to be in 2005. Evans said: "I will win for the same reason I won the council election – local people are cheesed off with the current administration."

Malcolm Doherty, a Labour councillor for Mill Hill, disputed Evans' claim that he would be able to win the seat. He said: "I think the BNP would finish fourth. It is a pretty safe seat and Jack Straw is an excellent constituency MP."

Much of the BNP's campaign literature is based on claims that regeneration funding is skewed towards areas with a high proportion of residents from ethnic minorities.

In a campaign leaflet for the Mill Hill by-election, Evans said: "I, Robin Evans, will not be handicapped by the usual political correctness or live in fear of being branded a 'racist'.