Northern Independence Party

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Northern Independence Party
Deputy leaderDavid Heaven[1]
FoundersPhilip Proudfoot
Evie McGovern[2]
ChairwomanSuzanne Clifton[2]
Founded22 October 2020; 2 years ago (2020-10-22)[3]
Registered30 June 2021; 20 months ago (2021-06-30)[4]
Headquarters10 Houghton Avenue
WA2 7EQ[4]
Membership (2021)1,400[5]
Political positionLeft-wing
Colours    Burgundy and yellow
SloganIt's About Bloody Time[5]

The Northern Independence Party (NIP) is a minor secessionist and democratic socialist political party that seeks to make Northern England an independent nation, under the name of Northumbria. Founded in October 2020 by lecturer and former Labour activist Philip Proudfoot, the party has no elected representatives. The party leadership position has been vacant since Proudfoot's resignation on 22 July 2022.[6]


The NIP was formed on 22 October 2020 by Philip Proudfoot,[7] an international development studies lecturer at the University of Sussex and former Labour Party activist from County Durham,[8][9] along with his colleague Evie McGovern and other former Labour activists who were alienated by what they saw as Keir Starmer's move towards the centre as leader of the party.[2][8][10] Proudfoot was inspired to found the party after watching Andy Burnham's critical response to the Westminster government's limited support package for Greater Manchester during the COVID-19 pandemic.[8] He told Big Issue North that the centralisation of power in London had played a part as well, highlighting the North-South divide in healthcare, transport, education, and general standard of living as motivating factors.[11]

The NIP applied to the Electoral Commission for registration on 12 February 2021, but the application was rejected on the grounds of its initial application being incomplete.[12] On 24 March, the party reapplied for registration,[13] and announced on 30 June that it was registered with the Electoral Commission.[4]

Following the NIP announcement that it had selected former Labour MP Thelma Walker as its candidate for the Hartlepool by-election in May 2021, it was reported by Huffington Post UK that the party's membership had increased from 300 members to 1,300.[14]


Inspired by the Scottish National Party's campaign for an independent Scotland,[15][16] the NIP seeks to make the North of England an independent state under the name Northumbria,[8] which previously existed as an Anglo-Saxon medieval kingdom from the 7th century until the 10th century.[15][17] Proudfoot has said that the geography of Northumbria would consist of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Merseyside, Tyne and Wear, Greater Manchester, County Durham, Northumberland and Cheshire, and, since 2022, has generally included the borough of High Peak in northern Derbyshire within it.[18] The party has proposed York as a possible capital city,[19][20] though has also proposed having multiple capitals.[17]

The NIP describes itself as a democratic socialist party, advocating for a "green industrial rebirth" and "socialism with a northern accent",[8][21] proposing a market socialist economy, with a more decentralised system and an emphasis on co-operatives, locally-owned businesses and social enterprises.[14] The party also endorses the principles of community wealth building, known as the Preston Model.[22][14] It has also said that in an independent North, it would nationalise some industries where feasible, including utilities, public transport and the National Health Service. It supports the nationalisation of broadband to make it free at the point of delivery.[23]

Identifying itself as a post-Brexit party, the NIP's draft manifesto stated that an independent North could make a decision to join the European Union via a referendum "in the distant future".[14] It would also leave the question of whether an independent North would retain the monarchy to the electorate, in a referendum that would be held on the issue if it arose. The NIP also opposes First Past the Post as an electoral system, believing that its replacement should be determined by a constitutional assembly.[14]

It was reported that much of the party's initial support has been drawn from disillusionment with Starmer's leadership of the Labour Party, particularly on the party's left flank.[8][10][24]


Stewart Arnold of The Yorkshire Post argued that the party's presence would be "good for democracy as it will challenge the two main parties to present suitable plans that allow Yorkshire and the rest of the North to take control of its own destiny and unleash its potential",[25] while in The Guardian, Alex Niven was sceptical of the party's chances, noting that the "archaic first-past-the-post system makes it extremely difficult for smaller parties to establish a foothold in Westminster". He compared the NIP's prospects to UKIP but with "none of UKIP's advantages and most of its limitations", although he suggested that the party "might just be the start of a more general realignment in British politics", noting "If even a minority of disaffected Corbynite northerners get behind NIP, [...] Labour's downslide will accelerate."[26]

In an opinion piece for The Times, former Labour staff member James Matthewson called the NIP "a glorified joke" and accused it of being a "fetishisation of Northern working-class culture by privileged, middle class hard-left ideologues".[27] Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, Kim Johnson, dismissed the party's slogan, 'It's About Bloody Time', and use of a logo featuring a whippet as "patronising in the extreme".[5]

In the New Statesman, Freddie Hayward, while dismissing favourable comparisons to the Scottish independence movement, concluded that the party "may be quixotic, or it may be the germination of a political force that gives the north 'national consequence'" and that it may be "needed to hold the major parties accountable for failing to address the north–south divide".[8] In the same outlet, contributor Jonn Elledge criticised the party's decision not to contest northern mayoralties, writing that while anything to "make everyone pay more attention to the north has to be a good thing", he viewed the party's targeting of Labour voters as potentially "handing another red-wall seat to the governing party" which would be unlikely to "wake up ministers to the need to give more money and attention to anywhere north of Stevenage".[28]

Writing for Novara Media, psephology blogger Ell Folan, though dismissive of Thelma Walker's chances to win Hartlepool, believed the NIP "could easily cost Labour key seats in the future (especially with the Tories so far ahead in the polls)", concluding that "with leftism still popular in the north, regionalism on the rise and Labour's red wall no longer solid, Starmer needs to take the NIP seriously – or it won't seem like a joke much longer".[29]


By-elections, 2019–present Parliament[edit]

On 28 March 2021, the NIP selected Thelma Walker, formerly the Labour MP for Colne Valley from 2017 to 2019, as its candidate at the Hartlepool by-election.[30] However, as the party was not registered with the Electoral Commission before the candidate nomination deadline, she appeared on the ballot as an Independent.[31] She received 250 votes, coming eighth with 0.84% of the vote and losing her deposit.[32]

The NIP stood in the 2022 Wakefield by-election with Christopher Jones receiving 84 votes, coming 14th out of 15 with 0.3% of the vote and losing his deposit.[33]

2021 local elections
The party endorsed four independent candidates in the 2021 local elections in the Derby and Litherland wards of Sefton and the Pendleton & Charlestown ward of Salford.[34] None of these candidates were elected.[35]

2022 local elections
The NIP ran eight candidates in the 2022 local elections in the Kingstone ward of Barnsley, the Beeston and Holbeck ward of Leeds, West Fenham and Wingrove wards of Newcastle upon Tyne, the Litherland ward of Sefton, the City and Crookes and Crosspool wards of Sheffield, and West Kirby and Thurstaston ward of Wirral.[36] None of these candidates were elected.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bryant, Toby (9 February 2022). "Q&A: The Northern Independence Party on their mission for a nation of Northumbria". Newcastle World. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "About us". Northern Independence Party.
  3. ^ talkRADIO (27 October 2020). "Should the north have independence from Westminster?". YouTube. Retrieved 10 February 2022. Philip Proudfoot: "[W]e literally launched five days ago"
  4. ^ a b c "Registration summary - Northern Independence Party". The Electoral Commission. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Wolfe-Robinson, Maya (2 April 2021). "Past and present Labour MPs square off in Hartlepool". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  6. ^ Northern Independence Party [@freenorthnow] (22 July 2022). "A short statement from our founder and outgoing leader, Philip Proudfoot" (Tweet). Retrieved 22 July 2022 – via Twitter.
  7. ^ Maxwell, Kieran (21 January 2021). "NIP it in the bud: the case against Northern independence". The Social Review. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Hayward, Freddie (26 March 2021). "Can the Northern Independence Party succeed?". New Statesman. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  9. ^ Drury, Colin (3 November 2020). "An independent north? What an England severed in two might look like". The Independent. Archived from the original on 21 June 2022. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  10. ^ a b Batchelor-Hunt, Nadine (27 March 2021). "Meet the Northern Independence Party: We're planning on taking all of Labour's seats in the North". Joe. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  11. ^ Moss, Chris (23 November 2021). "Devolution's sunny uplands". Big Issue North. Retrieved 6 December 2021.
  12. ^ "Party registration decisions". The Electoral Commission. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  13. ^ "View current applications | Northern Independence Party". The Electoral Commission. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  14. ^ a b c d e Waugh, Paul (30 March 2021). "Northern Independence Party Manifesto Plan Includes Referendum On Ditching The Queen". HuffPost.
  15. ^ a b Marlborough, Conor (28 February 2021). "'Naturally, you look to Scotland': How the SNP's successes are bolstering new independence movements around the UK". The Scotsman. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  16. ^ O'Toole, Emer (21 April 2021). "Northern Independence Party seeks to 'have a voice like the SNP'". The National. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  17. ^ a b Lockwood, Tasmin (16 November 2020). "County Durham man leads new party making the case for Northern Independence". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  18. ^ Proudfoot, Philip (12 November 2020). "Why the North of England needs to declare independence from Westminster". Nation.Cymru. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  19. ^ Shone, Ethan (29 October 2020). "Northern Independence Party: the new campaign for an independent North of England explained". Sunderland Echo. Retrieved 17 March 2021.
  20. ^ Burgess, Tom (15 April 2022). "'Welsh devolution shows England needs a real northern powerhouse'". The National Wales. Retrieved 20 April 2022.
  21. ^ Langford, Eleanor (30 April 2021). "'We Are the Left Vote': Northern Independence Party Deny Splitting The Labour Vote In May Elections". Politics Home. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  22. ^ "Our Local Policies". Northern Independence Party. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  23. ^ "Our National Policies". Northern Independence Party. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  24. ^ Holland, Daniel (27 April 2022). "Northern Independence Party makes first foray into Newcastle elections". Chronicle Live. Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  25. ^ Arnold, Stewart (30 March 2021). "Independence for North can be a by-election winner". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  26. ^ Niven, Alex (3 April 2021). "Is the Northern Independence party more serious than it looks?". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  27. ^ Matthewson, James (30 March 2021). "Northern Independence Party is a glorified joke, I hope it goes south". The Times. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  28. ^ Elledge, Jonn (2 April 2021). "Seven thoughts about the Northern Independence Party". New Statesman. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  29. ^ Folan, Ell (15 April 2021). "The Northern Independence Party Is a Triple Threat to Labour". Novara Media. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  30. ^ Shone, Ethan (16 March 2021). "Northern Independence Party to stand first parliamentary candidate in Hartlepool by-election". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
    - "Ex-MP to stand for Northern Independence party in by-election". BBC News. 29 March 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  31. ^ Parsons, Rob (11 April 2021). "Thelma Walker of the Northern Independence Party wants to send message that North 'has had enough'". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  32. ^ Sparrow, Andrew (7 May 2021). "Hartlepool byelection results in full - Tories win with 16-point swing". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  33. ^ "By election results 2022". Wakefield Council. 24 June 2022. Retrieved 24 June 2022.
  34. ^ Timan, Joseph (5 May 2021). "What all the parties and independent candidates standing in Salford have to say ahead of the local elections 2021". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
    - McKeon, Christopher (26 April 2021). "Local elections 2021: Gender 'just a detail' for Sefton's first non-binary council candidate". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  35. ^ "Salford's local election results announced". Salford City Council. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
    - "Election results for Litherland, 6 May 2021". Sefton Council. May 2021. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
    - "Election results for Derby, 6 May 2021". Sefton Council. 6 May 2021. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  36. ^ Northern Independence Party [@FreeNorthNow] (16 April 2022). "We're standing in Newcastle, Leeds, Barnsley, Sheffield, Sefton and the Wirral in the council elections on the 5th of May.
    These are our candidates"
    (Tweet) – via Twitter.

External links[edit]