TRADE unionists are campaigning to oust racist political parties from East Lancashire - days after the British National Party announced plans to field a new council candidate.

BNP members met in Hyndburn last week and have agreed to form a branch in the borough, with the intention of possibly putting a candidate up for the next local elections.

The political organisation says it has received help from Accrington residents in the past while canvassingin Burnley.

It is now looking to gain further backing in the area through a leafleting campaign.

However, these could be falling through letterboxes at the same time as leaflets being distributed by the Hyndburn and Rossendale Trade Union Council, part of the national Trades Union Congress.

The TUC is targeting the BNP during its Anti-Fascist Fortnight, which runs until April 7.

TUC leaflets are being delivered in all areas where the BNP are looking to establish political roots.

Peter Billington, Hyndburn and Rossendale secretary, said: "We will be distributing anti-racist leaflets opposing the BNP and other racist and fascist parties to households in any part of the two boroughs where these parties are likely to stand candidates in the local elections in May.

"It is a coincidence that our leaflet campaign and that of the BNP appear to be happening at the same time, but hopefully this will make our message even stronger."

Mr Billington added: "Trade union members in Hyndburn and Rossendale want to make sure that these people are exposed for what they are. They are not part of a decent community."

David Jones, North West BNP spokesman, said: "We have been looking at starting a group in the Accrington area with the potential of putting a candidate forward in the May elections, if we push ourselves.

"We have had significant support in this area in the past."

About 20 people attended the meeting and now plan to meet on a monthly basis.