Free England Party

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Free England Party
Leader Tom Wyatt
Founded 2008 (2008)
Dissolved 2009 (2009)
Ideology Euroscepticism, English nationalism, English independence[1]
Political position Centrist
Colours Red and white
Politics of the United Kingdom
Political parties
Elections

The Free England Party was a centrist[1] political party in the United Kingdom, which campaigned for English independence. Founded in 2008, and registered with the Electoral Commission in February of that year,[2] it was at the time the largest English Civic Nationalist party in the United Kingdom.[citation needed] The Party disbanded in 2009 after some of the leadership tried to force the party in an ethnic nationalist direction.

Formation[edit]

The Free England Party was formed in 2008, by Andrew Constantine and Richard Aitkins, both former English Democrats. The party was formed due to the alleged "appalling mismanagement of England by the British government",[3] following the devolution legislation by Tony Blair's Labour government enacted in the 1990s.

History[edit]

In May 2008, the party stood in their first elections.

In the elections for the London Assembly, the then party leader, Andrew Constantine, stood in the London South West Constituency gaining 2,908 votes, 1.52% of the total cast.

Election results[edit]

London Assembly election, 2008: South West[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Tony Arbour 76,913 40.8 +7.8
Liberal Democrat Stephen Knight 49,985 26.5 –3.8
Labour Ansuya Sodha 30,190 16.0 –1.0
Green John Hunt 12,774 6.8 +0.1
National Front Andrew Cripps 4,754 2.5 N/A
UKIP Peter Dul 3,779 2.0 –6.4
Christian Choice Sue May 3,718 1.9 –0.1
Free England Andrew Constantine 2,908 1.5 N/A
English Democrats Roger Cooper 1,874 1.0 N/A
Left List Tansy Hoskins 1,526 0.8 N/A
Majority 26,928 14.3 +11.6
Turnout 188,421 45.4 +6.9
Conservative hold Swing +5.8

Two candidates also stood in the local elections held on the same day. In the Fawdon ward of Newcastle upon Tyne council, Martin Thompson won 367 votes, 12.4% of the total, forcing the Conservative candidate into fourth place.

Newcastle upon Tyne Local Elections, Fawdon Ward[5]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrat Brenda Hindmarsh 1770 60.0 -
Labour Catherine McKinnell 620 21.0 -
Free England Martin Thompson 367 12.4 -
Conservative Stephen Warrick 194 6.6 -
Majority 1150 39.0 -
Liberal Democrat hold Swing +0

In the Pin Green ward of Stevenage Borough, Richard Aitkins took 158 votes, 11.6% of the total. In a by-election in Pin Green in September 2008 Richard Aitkins took 81 votes,6.2%. The party took a conscious decision not to stand in the 2009 European or County Elections, and to conserve resources for the upcoming General Election.

In June 2009, the Party Secretary Richard Aitkins and the Policy Chairman Martin Thompson left the party after disagreements within the NEC. In September, due to work commitments, Andrew Constantine stepped down as leader and became the party treasurer. Tom Wyatt, the previous Regional Organiser for the North East, took over as party leader. Adrian Thompson became Party secretary but stood down after 44 days in the post.

Party ideology[edit]

The Party described itself as "civic nationalist", and the party constitution stated that "Membership can be acquired by anyone, whatever their ethnicity, religion or culture".[6]

There was to be a proposal at the annual general meeting (AGM) in December 2009 to change the Party stance to that of ethnic nationalism.

The main policy of the Free England Party was the creation of an independent English state.

The party's main policies[1] were:

  • England's withdrawal from the United Kingdom and the European Union.
  • A controlled immigration policy.
  • Tougher sentences for criminals.
  • Improved state pensions.
  • Improved health care.

Party structure[edit]

The Free England Party was made up of regional officers, and the National Executive Council (NEC). The NEC was elected on a two-year basis and was made up of members from all over England. At the end it consisted of a party leader, a party treasurer, and two other NEC members.

There were also four places for regional organisers, who represented: North England, Central England, South England and London.

There was also a policy committee with four members.

Young Free England[edit]

Young Free England was the youth organisation of the Free England Party, and was founded in March 2009. Membership was free to members of Free England between the ages of 15 and 24. It had members across the country and had its own web site,[7] and was headed by Dan Fisher In a forum policy debate in November 2009 lost of the members of YFE opposed the policy change to make the party an 'ethnic English'one, that was being proposed for the AGM. This resulted in Tom Wyatt, the Party leader, closing down Young Free England and some of its members being banned from the forum.

Disbandment[edit]

In November 2009, the policy committee of the Free England Party recommended that the party change its civic nationalist stance to becoming an ethnic nationalist party. This was to be put to the AGM on 12 December in York.

In early December 2009 the website of the pro-repatriation English Independence Party, led by Chris Nickerson, began redirecting visiters to an abandoned Free England Party website.

One week before the AGM the FEP leadership offered to hand over full control of the party to the supporters of the civic nationalist stance provided that they could build a new leadership and NEC within three days.

However, on 7 December 2009, after less than two full days, the party leadership announced that the Free England Party would be shut down, "due to lack of activists willing to take on party roles". This was in spite of the fact that the civic members had a new NEC ready to take over.

The Free England Party was de-registered from the Register of Political Parties on 8 June 2009.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]