A FORMER British National Party activist has been put in charge of culture in a town hall reshuffle.

Eacrfoft councillor Trevor Maxfield used to be a local organiser for the far right party before being elected to Blackburn with Darwen Council three years ago, representing For Darwen.

Following last month’s local elections, he has been promoted to the role of executive member for leisure and culture, putting him in charge of the borough’s leisure centres, parks and cultural festivals.

Coun Maxfield said he no longer shared the views of the far-right party.

He said he accepted questions being asked about his involvement with the BNP, but added: “It was in the past.

"I no longer share the BNP’s views, and you can ask any of the Asian members of the council.

"I get on with them very well.

“I do not consider myself to be far-right. I am white working class, and it’s as simple as that.

"In fact my national politics are left-wing.”

For Darwen currently shares control of the council with the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties.

Labour Sunnyhurst councillor Dave Smith said: “To be fair to Trevor, he’s quite a good bloke.

"I think his BNP stuff is in the past. ”

Tory council leader Mike Lee added: “I was not aware he had been involved with the BNP.

"I had heard murmurings, but when I’ve been with him he’s never said anything that would equate to a BNP comment so I can only take as I find.”

Coun Maxfield warned of spending cuts in his portfolio, which has recorded shortfalls in recent years, but said he had not yet seen a detailed budget breakdown.

His promotion means For Darwen Party leader Tony Melia is no longer on the executive board.

As part of the changes, Lib Dem Marsh House councillor Simon Huggill has been put in charge of housing.

In the past he has been a strong critic of the multimillion pound Housing Market Renewal scheme, which will form a key part of his new portfolio, and campaigned against demolition work to make way for Darwen’s new academy.