Independent candidates are the only alternative

Press conference: Matin Bell OBE launches Independent Network’s local election campaign

10.30am, Thursday April 7, 2011, Pleasance Theatre, Islington, London

Martin Bell OBE, the former Independent MP, will be joined by Tom Bletsoe, the UK’s youngest elected politician, and Tony Eggington, the first independently elected Mayor, at a press conference launching the Independent Network’s local election campaign .

At the Pleasance Theatre, Islington, the expertise of experienced independent campaigners will be combined with politicians of the next generation for the first time. 

The Independent Network is the only campaigning organisation that promotes and supports independent candidates and non-party politicians.   Ahead of the Local Elections 2011 the Independent Network has launched a recruitment drive to encourage those dissatisfied with party political representation to stand for local government positions.

Humanitarian Terry Waite, CBE, said: “Today, as Political Parties attempt to win our vote with honeyed words and promises of utopia, today is the time when we need to exercise our critical judgement.”.

The Independent Network is not a political party and does not impose any political views on the individuals or parties that affiliate with it.  However, it does insist that all affiliates abide by the Bell Principles - a code of conduct for elected representatives inspired by former independent MP Martin Bell OBE.

Ex-MP Martin Bell OBE, said: “It is time for the election of independents, without party baggage but with real world experience, to be a force for honest politics in local government. They will be answerable not to a political party but only to their constituents and their consciences. This event is a unique opportunity to meet other people who wish to stand for honest politics, and to create an alternative to party politics.”


People want an alternative

At the 2010 General Election a poll of British voters found that most (51%) thought political parties are corrupt.

The ICM survey revealed almost one in three (30%) UK voters wanted their MP to be independent of a political party. This puts the level of support for independents close to that polled for each of the three main parties.

Councillor Tom Bletsoe, said: “I’m living proof that young people can get elected. The election campaign is a great experience where you have to learn a tool-kit of new skills, and if elected you’re given the opportunity to represent your communities and have a say in how your council is run.”

Tamsin Omond, national coordinator of the Independent Network, said: "Some people would like to run for local council positions but may not know that they can, particularly without selling out to a political party. Independents are the only alternative to party politics.  The Independent Network wants to encourage dedicated local people who are committed to the Bell Principles and to their constituents to stand for local government.”

- Ends -


Notes to Editors:

Event location: Pleasance Theatre, Carpenter's Mews, North Road, London, N7 9EF

For map:

For more information please visit:

Alternatively you can contact the press office at 020 7609 1900.


The Bell Principles require that all endorsed independent candidates:

  • abide wholeheartedly by the spirit and letter of the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by Lord Nolan in 1995: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership
  • be guided by considered evidence, their real world experience and expertise, their constituencies and their consciences
  • be free from the control of any political party, pressure group or whip
  • be non-discriminatory, ethical and committed to pluralism.
  • make decisions transparently and openly at every stage and level of the political process, enabling people to see how decisions are made and the evidence on which they are based
  • listen, consulting their communities constantly and innovatively
  • treat political opponents with courtesy and respect, challenging them when they believe they are wrong, and agreeing with them when they believe they are right
  • resist abuses of power and patronage and promote democracy at every level
  • work with other elected independents as a Group with a chosen spokesperson
  • claim expenses, salaries and compensation openly so the public can judge the value for money of their activities.