YORKSHIRE has elected one of the country's first British National Party members of the European Parliament.
British National Party activist Andrew Brons from Harrogate gained the sixth and final place to fill Yorkshire and the Humber's seats in the European Parliament.
The other five Yorkshire seats were taken by the Conservatives (2), Labour (1), UKIP (1) and Liberal Democrats (1).
He has a history of involvement in extremist and racist organisations including the National Socialist Movement and the National Front.
The leader of the British National Party Nick Griffin, who is also a former National Front activist, won a seat in the North West.
The BNP breakthrough sent shockwaves through ethnic minority groups in the north.
One Jewish leader in Leeds said the development was "a disaster".
Dan Cohen, President of Street Lane Garden Synagogue, said: "A British National Party MEP is a disaster and a tragedy for Yorkshire.
"A disaster as the BNP has nothing to offer other than its outdated message of intolerance and hate.
"A tragedy as we have just commemorated 65 years since the D-Day landings, where our grandparents literally risked and in some cases gave up their lives to fight against fascism. The BNP may wear a mask of respectability, but they are no different to any those we fought 65 years ago.
"The Jewish community is going to be devastated."
Abdul Gooljar of the Islamic Society of Britain said: "The BNP threaten all our democratic freedoms. They try to take advantage of people's anxieties in an economic crisis to scapegoat minorities. We will not allow them to divide the people of Yorkshire."
Health Secretary Andy Burnham, a North West MP, said the result was a "sad moment for British politics".
He said: "It is deeply uncomfortable to see the BNP polling in the numbers they have.
"Whatever the country's problems the BNP are never the answer.
"The BNP is the ultimate protest vote, a two fingered vote and largely a comment on Westminster politics.
"I think the BNP have got very clever in hiding their racist beliefs."
Andrew Brons is a former member of Colin Jordan's National Socialist Movement, which he joined aged 17.
Brons then joined John Bean's British National Party and subsequently followed the organisation into the National Front in 1967.
Brons was chairman of the Harrogate National Front in 1973-1974, and stood for Parliament for the NF four times.
In June 1984 Brons was convicted of behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace following his arrest in Leeds while selling papers. He was fined 50.
Rabbi Cohen said: "Whether people like it or not, when they vote for the BNP they are voting for racists, for people who hate - and I use that term in its fullest sense - a multi-cultural Britain."
The BNP picked up almost 10 per cent of the vote. The turn-out was less
than 40 per cent.
Euro Elections: Results