Derwentside Independents

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Derwentside Independents
Leader Watts Stelling
Founded 2001
Headquarters Leadgate
Ideology Localism

Derwentside Independents are a political party in the United Kingdom registered in 2001.[1] They contest elections in County Durham.

Founded by former Councillor Bill Stockdale, the party had benefited from the lack of organised opposition to Labour from the national political parties in Derwentside, though recently the Liberal Democrats and U.K.I.P. have been more active.

They are an association of like-minded people who formed a party participating in local governance without any specific particular political bias. Each member has their own politics personal but chooses not to reveal that to an elector.

The party increased in strength following the 2003 local elections, gaining eight seats from the Labour Party in west and south Derwentside.[2] At the final election to Derwentside district council in 2007, the party gained a further 10 seats, bringing its total to 24 and reducing Labour's majority to three.[3][4]

Following the 2013 unitary authority elections The Derwentside Independents Party had 8 councillors on the unitary Durham County Council.[5] As of 2016 this is down to 7 councilors.

The party is part of one of two groups of independents on the county council, and forms part of the opposition to the ruling Labour Party.[6] Prior to 1 April 2009 they formed the second largest party on the now-abolished Derwentside District Council, making it the largest group on the council after Labour.

Its leader, councillor Watts Stelling, contested the 2005 general election in the constituency of North West Durham.

Other officers are Ronald Weightman, nominating officer, and John Jopling, treasurer.[1] According to its 2007 accounts the party had 23 elected members and 22 general members.[7] However, as of 2012 this was reduced to 9 Elected Members and 22 general members.[8]

In March 2008, after feeling the Derwentside Independents couldn't offer a county-wide alternative to Labour, Cllr Bob Cook resigned from their ranks and joined the Liberal Democrats. He lost his seat at the subsequent local elections.[5] A rival Durham County Council Independent Group led by John Shuttleworth formed in 2008.[6]

The May 2013 Stanley Town Council Elections saw the Derwentside Independents lose some of their sitting councillors, being left with 4 councillors, 2 in Catchgate and 2 in Tanfield. Stanley Town Council now stands 9 labour members and 4 Derwentside Independents and several undecided councilors; after some issues within the Labour Party one of their Councillors resigned and in the by-election this seat was gained by David Tully of Derwentside Independents increasing their seats.


  1. ^ a b "Derwentside Independents". Register of political parties. Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  2. ^ "English councils: Non-metropolitan districts". The Times. 3 May 2003. p. 47. 
  3. ^ "Results: Election 2007.". The Times. 5 May 2007. p. 83. 
  4. ^ Kearney, Tony (4 May 2007). "Labour holds Derwentside - but only just". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 10 February 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Results for the Derwentside area" (PDF). Durham County Council. 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-01. 
  6. ^ a b Mckay, Neil (27 May 2008). "Political colleagues who aren't friends". The Journal. North-East England. Retrieved 10 February 2010. 
  7. ^ "Statement of Accounts for Year ended 31 December 2007". Electoral commission. 2008. Retrieved 2013-12-02. 
  8. ^ "Statement of Accounts for Year ended 31 December 2007". Electoral commission. 2008. Retrieved 2013-12-02.