The tremor that ran through the established order of things following the success of UKIP at last month’s European elections in Tynedale could be followed by a major aftershock.
> Would that be the tremor that saw UKIP get one North East Euro MP – in a parliament they don’t believe in but are happy to rack up personal expenses from – but also saw them win no local council seats, and indeed saw their local council holdings (2 seats, both in South Tyneside) reduced by 50% ?
Sounds more like the kind of tremor experienced by someone suffering from a nervous condition…
For a new North-East based political party is set to throw its hat into the ring in time for next year’s General Election.
And in the forefront of the North-East Party is retired Haydon Bridge GP Steven Ford.
Although he lost his deposit when standing as an independent at the 2010 General Election, finishing a distant fourth behind the main parties, Dr Ford is poised to give it another go.
He said: “The party is so new there are no candidates yet, but I am certainly prepared to have my name considered.”
The main plank of the NEP’s strategy will be to campaign for effective devolution of power to the North-East.
Dr Ford is confident that the new party will be a success, despite the fact that the North-East rejected the notion of a “Geordie Parliament” in a referendum organised by Labour’s deputy prime minister John Prescott in 2004.
He said: “The referendum in 2004 was for another layer of local government; a talking shop which was quite rightly rejected.
“What we want is more radical; we want to see a group of MPs in Westminster dedicated to looking after the interests of the North-East.
“The region has been neglected by successive governments, who have done nothing for the North-East.
“If the North-East is not being represented by the major parties, it must represent itself.”
A decade ago, voters in Tynedale turned their backs on the prospect of an elected North-East regional assembly by a majority of four to one.
Even the support of high-profile residents of the district like Brendan Foster and Alan Shearer failed to persuade voters that the so-called Geordie Parliament was a good idea.
> Just calling it a “Geordie Parliament” was a loser in itself – it gave the impression that it would be centered on, and for the main benefit of, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Kind of like calling a council for the whole of London a “Cockney Parliament” – it appears to exclude all those who don’t fit the narrow parameters .
A spokesman for the North-East Party said: “We want to ensure that, just like the people of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, we can take real control over the important issues of our lives, such as jobs, excellent public services, caring supportive communities, first-class public transport and world-class science and research.
“We will do politics better – independently, honestly and openly. We will be accountable to local communities.”
NEP’s immediate aim is to field candidates in 12 North-East constituencies, including the Tory stronghold of Hexham.
The aim is to return to Parliament 12 women and men who will stand up independently and accountably for the interests of North-East England, and who will work to bring real devolution to the region.
The spokesman said: “We want to hold an umbrella of support over people who share our values of democracy and equality and who stand for any local election on the basis that they will tackle local issues and make themselves fully accountable to local people.”
The first gathering of the new party will take place at Durham Conference Centre on Monday June 16 from 6-9pm.
Meanwhile, Dr Ford would be happy to hear from people interested in the party on email@example.com
UKIP has already confirmed it regards Hexham as a marginal seat following its European election successes.
It will choose a local person as its candidate for Hexham in September.
Source – Hexham Courant, 11 June 2014
A new political party has been launched with the aim of bringing devolution to the North-East.
The North East Party is aiming to secure powers similar to those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
It intends to contest 12 seats in the region at next year’s general election, funded through membership and donations from people who want political independence from Westminster.
The North East Party (NEP) wants to take control of issues such as job creation, public services, including health and social care, as well as education and public transport. It also says it wants to ensure world class science and research is carried out in the region.
The party’s chairman is Hilton Dawson, former Labour MP for Lancaster and Wyre, who lives in Warkworth, Northumberland, and is from the area.
The 60-year-old social worker, who has a wife, two daughters and is a grandfather-of-four, said: “We are the most neglected region in England and until we have real power and real decision making here we won’t be to address the fundamental issues of the North-East.
“This is the poorest region in the country with the highest level of unemployment and the highest level of social deprivation.
Susan McDonnell, a former Peterlee Town Councillor and Labour Party member, is considering standing against Easington MP Grahame Morris in the general election next May.
The 49-year-old, who lives in Peterlee with her husband, and has one son, narrowly missed out on a seat on Durham County Council last year.
Ms McDonnell, the party’s administrator, who works as an office manager for an email marketing company in Newcastle, said: “The purpose of the party is to bring political representation to the North-East.
“We had a referendum on regional assembly and that failed because it was dressed up as another level of bureaucracy.
“What we would aim to try and do is get true devolution for the North-East so we are not beholden to Westminster. We would decide on the key issues that affect the region with our own Government.
“It won’t be a separate country, but we will have devolved power so decisions that affect the North-East will be made here in the North-East by North-East people.”
The first gathering of the North East Party will be held at the Durham Conference Centre on Monday, June 16 from 6pmto 9pm.
For more information:
Source – Durham Times, 27 May 2014