(BBC report) | 15.08.2003 09:38
The BNP polled 1,607, beating the Liberal Democrats into second place.
As Mr Exley left the count at Batley Town Hall he was greeted by about 50 demonstrators shouting anti-Nazi slogans.
At least one man was led away by officers, after apparently throwing a placard over the police line.
Before he left the building Mr Exley said: "I was talking common sense, it's as simple as that."
Asked what he could do for the people of Heckmondwike, he said: "Come and meet me, speak to me. I will make myself available to anyone.
Labour party candidate Florence Smith said the BNP "had made a lot of empty promises to the electorate".
She said: "The BNP have nothing to offer local people and their councillor will ultimately let the people of Heckmondwike down."
Labour Party chairman Ian McCartney said his party now had to redouble its efforts in the area to win the support of local people.
He said: "We are disappointed with this result. We ran a good campaign and had a strong candidate.
"Nasty, extremist and racist, the BNP got in narrowly on the back of empty promises and bogus respectability."
The council leader, councillor Kath Pinnock, a Liberal Democrat, told BBC Radio Leeds: "People were frustrated by difficulties in the area and have shown their frustrations by voting BNP."
The result of the election was: David Exley (BNP) 1607; Tabasum Aslam (Lib Dem) 1493; Tim Crowther (Independent) 1147; Florence Smith (Labour) 982; Roger Roberts (Conservative) 490; Heidi Smithson (Green) 76.
The election was called after Labour councillor Tim Crowther resigned to run as an independent.