A BURNLEY British National Party councillor has admitted support in some areas of the town for the far-right party is falling.

The revelation came as a survey said that up to 25 per cent of voters nationally were thinking of supporting the BNP.

Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said that anger with the main political parties had led to increasing numbers indicating that they might vote for the BNP.

It follows warnings at the weekend from Employment Minister Margaret Hodge that as many as eight out of 10 white families in her Barking constituency in east London admitted that they were tempted to vote BNP in May council elections.

The BNP currently has six councillors on Burnley council and is fielding seven candidates in May's local elections.

If it wins all the wards it is contesting it would have 12 councillors.

But Burnley councillors from all parties are predicting that the party will not make significant inroads.

BNP Coun Barry Birks, member for Whittlefield with Ightenhill, said: "In particular areas of the town support for us has waned."

He said it was mainly down to the publicity surrounding a former BNP councillor.

"But we are hopeful of success. Like most other political parties nothing is guaranteed on the doorsteps we are getting a good response," he added.

In June last year former Lanehead ward and ex-BNP man Luke Smith admitted being involved in a bar brawl in Blackpool in May 2004.

In September 2004, he was banned from politics for three years after he was involved in a fight at a BNP festival.

He was disqualified from being a member of any local authority at an Adjudication Panel for England hearing after a fight at the far-right party's Red White and Blue festival in August 2003.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Coun, Gordon Birtwistle, the situation described by Mrs Hodge had been happening in Burnley for the past four years.

But he said: "I do feel that we are starting to win the battle with the BNP in Burnley."

Conservative Coun Ida Carmichael said she felt some people had used the BNP in the last general elections as a "protest vote".