Morecambe Bay Independents

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Leader Roger Dennison
Headquarters Morecambe
Ideology Localism
Politics of the United Kingdom
Political parties

The Morecambe Bay Independents are a minor political party in Morecambe, Lancashire.[1] The group ran Lancaster City Council from 1999 to 2003, and successfully campaigned in 2005 for the creation of Morecambe Town Council.[2]

After being founded in the 1980s,[3] the party won 13 seats on Lancaster City Council in May 1992.[4] That year they stood Mark Turner for the Morecambe and Lunesdale seat in the general election, receiving 916 votes (2.1%).[5] A former MBI councillor, Kathleen Egerton, was shot dead by her husband in a murder-suicide in 1995.[6] After a by-election victory and a defection by former mayor Shirley Burns from the Conservatives in May 1998, they became the official opposition on the council.[7]

They gained power on Lancaster City Council in 1999 when they more than doubled their seats to 22,[8] sitting as a minority administration.[3][9] The Labour Party refused to sit in cabinet with them.[10] Councillor Carol Broad was expelled from the group in July 2001, in the same week that another councillor, John Fretwell, defected to the Conservatives.[11] Turner, a founding member, left the party in January 2002 due to the row over Broad.[3][12] The then-leader of the MBI, Tricia Heath, was leader of Lancaster City Council for four years,[11][13] but in May 2003 she lost her council seat,[14] and the number of their seats fell from 16 to 11.[15][16] Heath placed some of the blame for her loss on the District Auditor's report on "Blobbygate",[16] a scandal over a deal the council made with Noel Edmonds in the mid-90s about a theme park in Morecambe.[17] Another councillor, Shirley Reid, was expelled from the group in December 2003 for not attending meetings.[18]

They had twelve of the sixty councillors on Lancaster City Council after the 2007 election (behind Labour on 14 and equal to the Greens and Conservatives),[19][20] but Heath failed in her bid to be re-elected.[21][22] They won twenty-five of the twenty-six councillors on Morecambe Town Council in 2009 with 64% of the vote,[23][24] despite facing opposition from a new group of independents called Residents First.[25]

Evelyn Archer stood down as leader of the MBI group in January 2010, being replaced by David Kerr. Archer was first elected in 1991, lost her seat in 1995, then was re-elected in 2003.[26]

In the wake of the resignation of one of their own Town Councillors, Roger Plumb, for reasons that are still to be made public, a by-election was called. The breakaway Independence 4 Morecambe group had their candidate blocked from being on the ballot at the eleventh hour after it emerged that the MBI Party had registered their description as including the phrase "Independence 4 Morecambe" as well as a raft of others. The caustic relationship amongst "Independents" made the local newspaper as this pre-meditated manoeuvre was made public and described in the press as "the lowest trick in living memory" even by supporters.[citation needed]

In 2014, Kerr was replaced as group leader by Roger Dennison.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Party's entry on the Electoral Commission register
  2. ^ "Morecambe wants its own council". The Visitor (Morecambe). 18 October 2005. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "MBIs founder quits". The Visitor (Morecambe). 9 January 2002. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Heathcote, Elizabeth (3 August 1992). "Boom and bust: a tale of two resorts: Blackpool and Morecambe may be neighbours, but economically they have drifted miles apart". The Independent. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency. Guardian Politics
  6. ^ "Boy of 14 finds both his parents shot in the head". The Independent. 27 June 1995. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  7. ^ "Henig resists leadership bid". Lancashire Evening Telegraph. 14 May 1998. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  8. ^ "ONES TO WATCH - LGC TAKES A LOOK AT 10 COUNCILLORS RISING THROUGH THE TOWN HALL RANKS". Local Government Chronicle. 4 July 2000. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "Movers and shakers jockey for position". Lancashire Evening Telegraph. 14 May 1999. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  10. ^ "MBI to be swept from power?". Lancashire Evening Telegraph. 5 July 2001. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "Carol Broad is booted out of Independents". Lancaster Guardian. 13 July 2001. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  12. ^ "Coun Broad in court for fraud". The Visitor (Morecambe). 5 December 2001. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  13. ^ "Leader's vision for resort's future". The Visitor (Morecambe). 5 September 2002. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  14. ^ "Tories march on in Lancashire". BBC News. 2 May 2003. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  15. ^ "Election Results 2003". Lancaster City Council. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  16. ^ a b "Heath out as Labour take control of council". Lancaster Guardian. 2 May 2003. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  17. ^ "Group will not forget Blobbygate". Lancashire Evening Telegraph. 4 June 1999. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  18. ^ "Independents kick out Shirley". The Visitor (Morecambe). 22 December 2003. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  19. ^ "CITY COUNCIL RESULTS". The Visitor (Morecambe). 4 May 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  20. ^ Lancaster council, 2007 election results
  21. ^ "Election results". Lancaster Guardian. 4 May 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  22. ^ "Henig and Heath to stand again". Lancaster Guardian. 12 April 2007. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  23. ^ Lancaster council, 2009 Morecambe election results
  24. ^ Blade, Michelle (6 June 2009). "Members of new Morecambe Town Council elected". The Visitor (Morecambe). Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  25. ^ "Morecambe Parish Council hopefuls announced". The Garstang Courier. 8 May 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  26. ^ "Evelyn Archer resigns". The Visitor (Morecambe). 27 January 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  27. ^ "New leader for Morecambe Bay Independents", The Visitor, 14 May 2014

External links[edit]