ENGLAND'S last British National Party councillor has recommended his supporters vote Labour in May 3's local elections.

Marsden ward in Nelson's Brian Parker is standing down from Pendle Council after 12 years and has revealed in a letter to residents: "I shall on this occasion only be voting Labour and for Laura Blackburn."

He said he backed the Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition to run the borough when it was tied with the Conservative group on the number of seats because 'the Labour Party leadership were grown up to promise something worthwhile for Marsden. The Conservatives refused even to speak to me'.

Following Cllr Parker's decision to retire, the ward is straight fight between Mrs Blackburn and Conservative candidate Neil McGowan.

Pendle council Tory group leader Paul White said he was 'disgusted but not surprised' at Mr Parker's decision.

He said: "We don’t know whether the BNP and Labour have worked together on this message of support, or whether there’s been a deal.

"But what is evident is that Labour are happy to take the BNP’s endorsement. Before Pendle goes to the ballot box, residents deserve to know whether there has been some back room deal."

Pendle Labour group leader Mohammed Iqbal said: "As a proud Lancashire-born Pakistani, the suggestion I would do a deal with the BNP is preposterous. It absolutely has not happened."

Mrs Blackburn said: "We have never sought the support of the BNP nor would have. Cllr Parker is entitled to back whomever he thinks is the best candidate."

Cllr Parker said: "I think Cllr Iqbal is a reasonable man who is good at his job."

LibDem group leader Cllr Tony Greaves said: "For once I am left speechless."