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
Political position Right-wing
Colours Red and white

The Free England Party was a right-wing 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,[1] it was at the time the largest English civic nationalist party in the United Kingdom.[citation needed] The Free England Party was formed in 2008 by Andrew Constantine and Richard Aitkins, both former members of the English Democrats. The party was formed due to the alleged "appalling mismanagement of England by the British government",[2] following the devolution legislation enacted in the 1990s by Tony Blair's Labour government.

The party was disbanded in 2009 after some of the leadership tried to force the party into an ethnic nationalist direction.

Election performance[edit]

In the May 2008 London Assembly election, Constantine, the then party leader, stood in the South West constituency, finishing in eighth place with 2,908 votes, 1.52% of the total.

In the local elections held on the same day, Martin Thompson contested the Fawdon ward of Newcastle City Council, receiving 367 votes, 12.4% of the total, forcing the Conservative candidate into fourth place.[3]

The party secretary, Richard Aitkins, stood in the Pin Green ward of Stevenage Borough Council, receiving 158 votes, 11.6% of the total.[4] In a subsequent by-election in September 2008, he received 81 votes (6.2%).[5]

The party decided not to stand in the 2009 European or county elections and to conserve resources for the upcoming general election.

Party ideology[edit]

The party described itself as "civic nationalist", and its 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 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[7] 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 organised by 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 (YFE) 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 its own web site,[8] and was headed by Dan Fisher. In a forum policy debate in November 2009 most 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 June 2009, Aitkins and the party's 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.

In November 2009, the policy committee of the Free England Party recommended that the party change its civic nationalist stance and become 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 visitors to an abandoned Free England Party (FEP) website.

A 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 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.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Electoral Commission, The Free England Party, ref PP694. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  2. ^ About Us, Free England Party website. Archived 2 November 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2016
  3. ^ Election Results for Fawdon Ward, Newcastle City Council. Archived 10 May 2010. Retrieved 12 February 2016
  4. ^ Declaration of result of Poll, Borough of Stevenage, 1 May 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  5. ^ Declaration of result of Poll, Borough of Stevenage, 25 September 2008. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  6. ^ http://westmidsfreeengland.moonfruit.com/[dead link]
  7. ^ Our Principles, Free England Party website. Archived 1 November 2009. Retrieved 12 February 2016
  8. ^ http://www.youngfreeengland.org[dead link]