Independent candidates to the Welsh Assembly are the only alternative vote.

Two Welsh Assembly candidates are endorsed by Martin Bell OBE backed Independent Network

Two independent candidates to the Welsh Assmbly have been endorsed by the Independent Network, the Richard Taylor and Martin Bell backed national organisation for independent candidates and representatives.

The Independent Network endorsement comes just one week ahead of the 2011 Assembly elections. Siain Caiach stands for Llaneli Constituency and Elizabeth Haynes stands for Torfaen Constituency.

Endorsement required both candidates to commit to the Bell Principles, thought to be the first set of conduct guidelines created by a political organisation for its affiliated candidates and representatives.

The Bell Principles are used by the Independent Network and its affiliated groups to influence the conduct, but not the policies, of its endorsed candidates. Amongst other things, the principles encourage candidates and groups to be free from the control of any political party, pressure group or whip, non-discriminatory, and to be guided by considered evidence, their real world experience and expertise, their constituencies and their consciences.

Siain Caiach and Elizabeth Haynes are the first Welsh Assembly candidates that have been endorsed by the Independent Network.

Martin Bell OBE, ex-Independent MP and supporter of the Independent Network, said:

“This is a time for independents to challenge the politics of the status quo; it is a time for independent candidates either to stand together in Independent Groups or to help in the campaigns of others.  It is a 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.”

Sian Caiach, standing for the Llaneli constituency said:

“I feel strongly that my town, Llanelli, has been badly let down by politicians of all parties and deserves a representative who will consult the electorate throughout her term of office and devote herself only and completely to this constituency. People are fed up with empty promises and poor accountability, they are hungry for an alternative.  A vote for an independent candidate is the only alternative: it’s time for an open and committed democracy that only principled independents can bring.”

Elizabeth Haynes, standing for Torfaen constituency:

"I am very proud and honoured to be endorsed by Martin Bell as the Independent candidate for the Welsh Assembly Torfaen Constituency seat.  Being a part of the Independent Net allows me the privilege of having a support network without losing my independence or my commitment to my constituents. A vote for an independent is the only alternative to a vote for political parties."

Brian Ahearne, Chair of the Independent Network said:

“Endorsement by the Independent Network and the support for independent candidates from both Martin Bell and Dr Richard Taylor places these candidates amongst an impressive network of independently-minded politicians committed to serving their constituency.”


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The Independent Network is a loose non-profit association that provides support to Prospective Parliamentary Candidates who do not belong to a political party. The Independent Network was set up to provide support for independent candidates, as no other organisation existed to support them.

Independent candidates do not have access to a large national party structure with its human and financial resources.  The Independent Network was formed to attend to this inequality and continues to encourage the electorate to acknowledge the success and influence that independents are having in local Government and can have in Parliament.

The Independent Network does not impose any political views on the individuals and parties it supports or that support the Independent Network. However, affiliates of the Independent Network must be non-racist and non-discriminatory and adhere to The Bell Principles.

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