Some believe this damaged the vote of the BNP.
I'm agnostic about this. I don't think it's a bad thing that everyone's made aware of elections. It may be right that lots of BNP posters encourage a BNP vote - after all in the 2005 Euro elections UKIP got a massive vote with zero organisation on the ground but a massive and expensive poster campaign.
I'm pretty sure though that the ruling party shouldn't use taxpayer money for their campaigns. In Nottingham the council (Labour) has been reprimanded by the District Auditor for covering the lamp-posts with promotional material which was "strikingly similar to the material in the local Labour Party's newsletter". Nothing like getting the taxpayer to fund you, is there ?
Press coverage here, here and an editorial here. They were reprimanded in 2005 for similar dodgy dealing.
The city council was reprimanded by the District Auditor in 2005 for unlawful expenditure on publicity. A lengthy investigation criticised the way Labour councillors were quoted in 114 of the press releases sent out in 1999/2000. Many articles in the council's Arrow newspaper were also judged to be party political.
The District Auditor at the time, John Gregory, pursued the city council over the spending of £13,000. Mr Gregory told the Evening Post: "Public money should not be used in a way which could be construed as trying to gain political advantage."