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English Democrats

The English Democrats
Chairman Robin Tilbrook[1]
Founded 2002 (2002)[1]
Headquarters Quires Green
Ongar CM5 0QP[1]
Youth wing Young English Democrats
Membership 2,500[2]
Ideology English nationalism,
Political position Right wing[3][4][5]
National affiliation Alliance for Democracy[1]
International affiliation None
Red and white
House of Commons English Seats
0 / 533
House of Lords
0 / 724
European Parliament English Seats
0 / 60
London Assembly
0 / 25
Local government England Seats[6]
0 / 19,385
Police & Crime Commissioners
0 / 41
Politics of England
Political parties

The English Democrats is a fringe[7] English nationalist political party committed to establishing an independent England.[8] The party proposes a devolved English Parliament as a step towards full national independence. It presents itself as an English equivalent to the Scottish National Party.[9] Many of the party's leading members are defectors from the far-right British National Party and it has targeted former supporters of the party as part of its election strategy.[5][10]

The party has had limited electoral success. At the English local elections in June 2009, the party's candidate Peter Davies won the mayoral election for the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster.[11] However, he announced his resignation from the party on 5 February 2013.[12]


  • History 1
  • Organisation 2
  • Election performances 3
    • Parliamentary elections 3.1
    • European Parliament elections 3.2
      • 2004 3.2.1
      • 2009 3.2.2
      • 2014 3.2.3
    • Local councils 3.3
    • Welsh Assembly 3.4
    • London Mayoral elections 3.5
    • Police Commissioners 3.6
  • English Democrats holding local government seats 4
  • Party policies 5
    • English Parliament 5.1
    • English Independence 5.2
    • European Union 5.3
    • Traditional counties 5.4
    • Immigration 5.5
  • Nationalist connections 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


In 1998, in response to calls for the devolution of power to Scotland and Wales, Robin Tilbrook aimed at reforming the defunct English National Party, which had ceased operating as a party by 1981. This project included members of the Campaign for an English Parliament, a pressure group that lobbies for a devolved English Parliament. The party was relaunched as the "English Democrats" in September 2002, after merging with several other smaller political parties. In October 2004 the party merged with the Reform UK Party, which was a small splinter group from the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). The New England Party merged with the English Democrats in February 2007.

The English Democrats were co-founders of the English Constitutional Convention,[13] now defunct.

In December 2004 it was rumoured that Robert Kilroy-Silk, the former UKIP MEP had entered into negotiation to join the English Democrats.[14] However, Kilroy-Silk formed Veritas instead.

In 2007, columnist and TV medical doctor Vernon Coleman announced he had joined the English Democrats.[15]

The party's most significant electoral success came when Peter Davies (a former UKIP and Reform UK member), its candidate for Mayor of Doncaster, was elected. Having received 16,961 votes in the first round, 189 votes behind the independent Michael Maye, Davies was returned in the second count on transfers of second preference votes, with 25,344 votes to 24,990.[11][16] However, Davies announced his resignation from the party on 5 February 2013 citing "a big influx of new members joining from the British National Party".[12] One of its councillors, Mick Glynn, resigned the following day after the party's chairman Robin Tilbrook launched a personal attack on Peter Davies, thus reducing its number of elected representatives to two.[17] The English Democrats lost their remaining councillors in the 2015 local elections. On 18 September 2015, the English Democrats merged with Veritas.


Van owned by the party

The English Democrats have an England-wide network of area, county and some borough officers. In April 2006 they announced full national representative coverage of the nine Regions of England. In addition to the twenty-person National Council which includes nine area chairmen, there are fourteen national sub-committees to expedite progress in the party's development.

In 2010 the EDP was structured into ten regions in England by splitting the South-East region. As of April 2012, the party has never been able to fill all ten Regional Chairman posts.

The party claimed a total membership of 1,011 at the end of 2004, and 1,202 at the end of 2005.[18] The BBC reported 1,300 members in 2007. Party membership was around 1,500 in September 2011, following the influx of a number of people joining from the BNP and other fringe parties. Robin Tilbrook stated in a speech given to students at the University of Nottingham on 9 February 2012 that the party now had almost 3,000 members.

Election performances

The first person to stand as a candidate for the English Democrats was Gary Cowd, who stood in Rushmoor—West Heath Ward in North Hampshire[19] in a council by-election in May 2003. Cowd was an active member of the English Democrats and a National Council member. He left the party in 2006.

Parliamentary elections

At the 2004 Birmingham Hodge Hill by-election the English Democrat candidate received 277 votes, or 1.4% of the votes cast.[20]

The party's slogan for the 2005 general election was "The English Democrats—Putting England First!" In total, the English Democrats fielded 25 candidates for the May 2005 general election,[21] including Staffordshire South where the election was delayed until June due to the death of a candidate. The party withdrew its candidate in North Norfolk and endorsed the Conservative Party candidate, Iain Dale, as he had "taken the issues of English discrimination seriously".[22]

Garry Bushell, the former Sun journalist and current Daily Star Sunday TV critic, became the most high-profile candidate for the English Democrats, standing in the Greenwich and Woolwich constituency in London.[23] Bushell's 1,216 votes (3.4%) beat the UKIP candidate, Stan Gain, who secured 709 votes (2.0%);[24] this was the party's best result for the election though still a fifth-place performance.

In June 2005 Bushell also stood in Staffordshire South, where he received 643 votes (2.5%) coming fifth out of eight candidates.[25] In 2011 Bushell announced that he was, in future, supporting UKIP.

The English Democrats fielded Joanne Robinson as their candidate in the by-election forced by the resignation of former shadow home secretary David Davis from the House of Commons. Because of the issues raised by David Davis in the by-election, many parties other than the Conservatives, such as Labour, Liberal Democrats, United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and British National Party (BNP) chose not to stand. Joanne Robinson came third, with 1,714 votes (7.2%), 44 votes fewer than the Green candidate received in second place. Of the 26 candidates she was one of only three to win back her deposit. This result is both the highest place gained and the highest percentage of the votes won by any English Democrat candidate in a parliamentary election or parliamentary by-election.[26]

Campaign bus during the 2010 General Election

The English Democrats stood 107 candidates in the 2010 general election.[27] 106 is the minimum number required to qualify for a Party Election Broadcast. The English Democrats received 64,826 votes, or 0.3% of the vote in England, and 0.2% of the vote in the United Kingdom. No candidates were elected[28] but the party saved one deposit in the Doncaster North constituency, where candidate Wayne Crawshaw picked up 5.2% of the vote.[29]

In subsequent by-elections the party contested Oldham East and Saddleworth (where Stephen Morris polled 144 (0.4%)),[30] Barnsley Central (Kevin Riddiough polled 544 (2.2%) votes),[31] Feltham and Heston (Roger Cooper polled 322 (1.4%)),[32] Corby (David Wickham polled 432 (1.2%) votes)[33] and Rotherham (David Wildgoose polled 703 (3.3%) votes)[34]

At the 2015 general election, the party contested 32 seats, securing a total of 6,531 votes (0.0%).

European Parliament elections


The English Democrats stood candidates for the 2004 European Parliament election in five of the nine regions of England. The party’s 2004 election canvassing leaflet featured the slogan, "Not left, not right, just English". Its candidates won 130,056 votes in total.


In June 2009 the English Democrats contested elections to the European Parliament. The party fielded a full slate of candidates across the nine English European parliament constituencies. On 18 May 2009 the English Democrats broadcast their first national Party Election Broadcast.[35] They came seventh in the election in England (ninth in the UK as a whole) with 279,801 votes or 1.8%, a rise from the 0.7% they received at the previous elections in 2004. The English Democrats do not stand in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, and their vote across England in 2009 was 2.1%, an increase of 1.3% yet still did not keep their deposits except in Yorkshire and the Humber where they gained 2.6% of the vote. None of the English Democrats candidates were elected; the English Democrats were the highest-polling party across the UK not to have an MEP elected.


The English Democrats began their 2014 EU election campaign in September 2013 with an extensive social media campaign. On 30 April 2014, they held a rally at Fobbing in Essex, the site of the 1381 Peasants' Revolt, and declared "let the English revolt begin".[36] The party fielded a full slate of candidates across the nine English European parliament constituencies on 22 May 2014. On 13 February 2014, party chairman Robin Tilbrook appeared on the BBC Daily Politics with Nicola Sturgeon, the Deputy Leader of the Scottish National Party.[37] The English Democrats performed poorly at the election, taking just 0.8% of the votes, down more than 1% on 2009. They again failed to win any seats.[38]

Local councils

In November 2005 the party achieved its first electoral success when Paul Adams was elected to Crowborough Town Council, polling 120 votes, or 56.8% of the poll, on a turnout of 10%.[39]

In the 2007 local elections, seventy-eight candidates stood for election in boroughs and districts across fifteen English counties, including twenty in Dartford and ten in Portsmouth. All were unsuccessful.

In 2008, the party fielded candidates in 12 district council elections. None was elected. The party's best results were when it came second to the Conservatives: in the Finningley ward of Doncaster and in three wards in Rochford.[40]

In the 2009 English local elections, the party fielded 84 county council and local authority candidates, with particular focus in Bristol, Essex, Hampshire, Kent, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Wiltshire, and Lancashire. The party had an unexpected success when Peter Davies, its candidate for Mayor of Doncaster, was elected. Having received 16,961 votes in the first round, 189 votes behind the independent Michael Maye, Davies was returned in the second count on transfers of second preference votes, with 25,344 votes to 24,990.[11][16]

In 2010, the party also stood in the local elections on 6 May, but did not publish a list of candidates. The two sitting English Democrat councillors on Calderdale and Blackburn with Darwen councils retired, and the party did not nominate any candidates to contest the seats.[41][42]

In 2011, the EDP stood about 130 candidates in district level elections; two candidates were elected. The Boston Borough Council elections on 5 May 2011, saw the election of the first two EDP Councillors. David Owens and Elliott Fountain were elected in the Fenside Ward for a four-year term, thus becoming the only EDP members of a district council to be elected by public vote. A sitting EDP councillor on Peterborough council lost his seat.

The party fielded a candidate in the 3 March 2011 local by-election for the Walkden North ward of Salford City Council. Its candidate, Laurence Depares, polled 125 votes (7%) and came third, ahead of the BNP and Liberal Democrats;[43] in a by-election in the same city's Swinton South ward on 7 January 2014 the party was fifth with 54 votes (3.7%).[44]

In 2012, the party fielded 101 candidates in the local elections in England, including district council elections, mayoral contests and elections to the Greater London Assembly.[45] None was elected, and the party suffered the loss of the two seats it was defending, one that it had gained from a former BNP member who had defected to the party and another from an ex-Tory.[46] The English Democrats has come under fire from anti-fascist groups Unite Against Fascism[47] and Hope not Hate[48] and from the unions NASUWT and Unite the Union[49] over the number of former BNP members standing for election for the party. 43% of English Democrats candidates in the 2012 local elections were former BNP members.[50]

The EDP contested the mayoral elections at Liverpool and Salford. In Liverpool, its candidate received 1.42% of the vote, finishing in ninth place, while in Salford they received 3.6% and finished in eighth place.[51] The party chairman Robin Tilbrook declared that he was standing for Mayor of London and even asked for donations through one of the party's websites[52] but his name did not appear on the ballot paper.

Welsh Assembly

In 2007, in line with the English Democrats stance on the status of Monmouthshire, thirteen English Democrat candidates contested the Welsh Assembly elections in the South East Wales region, and the constituencies of Monmouth (fifth with 2.7%), Newport East (sixth 2.2%) and Newport West (fifth 2.7%).[53] The party received also 0.9% of the vote on the regional list.

In 2011 the party fielded a candidate, Kent-based Steve Uncles, in the Welsh Assembly constituency of Monmouth, in line with its view that Monmouthshire should be returned to English governance. The English Democrats polled 744 (2.47%) of the votes cast. The incumbent Conservative assembly member was returned. It contested the constituency of Monmouth in the 2015 general election, receiving 0.2% of the vote.[54]

London Mayoral elections

In July 2007

  • English Democrats official website
  • English Democrats official Facebook forum

External links

  1. ^ a b c d "English Democrats Party". 
  2. ^ George Eaton, "Green Party membership on course to overtake Ukip's", New Statesman, 14 January 2015
  3. ^ Katherine Tonkiss (2013). Migration and Identity in a Post-National World. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 120.  
  4. ^ Daniele Caramani (2013). The Europeanization of Politics. Cambridge University Press. p. 310.  
  5. ^ a b Ben Quinn, "English Democrats could become 'electorally credible' as BNP decline", The Guardian, 26 September 2011
  6. ^ Edkins, Keith. "Local Council Political Compositions". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Meet the tiny, fringe parties who never win anything - but do enrich our democracy".  
  8. ^ English Democrats seek independence for England
  9. ^ "'"Democrats want to be 'English SNP. BBC News. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  10. ^ Young, Gareth (16 May 2009). "English nationalism vs British nationalism". openDemocracy. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c Paul, Celia (5 June 2009). "English Democrat is new Mayor of Doncaster".  
  12. ^ a b BBC News "Doncaster mayor quits English Democrats 'because of BNP'", 5 February 2013
  13. ^ "Devolution for England – The way forward". English Constitution Convention. Archived from the original on 8 July 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2007. 
  14. ^ Hyde, Marina (14 December 2004). "Diary".  
  15. ^ Why I’ve joined the English Democrats by Vernon Coleman (on own website) December 2007
  16. ^ a b "Mayoral Election 2009 Results". Doncaster Council. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 5 June 2009. 
  17. ^ England Watch blog "Another English Democrat Councillor Resigns.", 7 February 2013
  18. ^ "English Democrats Party Statement of Accounts" ( 
  19. ^ John Walton, "Independents' Rushmoor challenge", Get Hampshire, 10 April 2003
  20. ^ "Lib Dems snatch Labour seat".  
  21. ^ Kimber, Richard (2 February 2007). "UK General Election candidates 2005: Number of candidates by party". Political Science Resources. Retrieved 23 January 2008. 
  22. ^ "English Democrat party bows out". Eastern Daily Press. 30 March 2005. Retrieved 2 May 2009. 
  23. ^ Kimber, Richard (2 February 2007). "UK General Election candidates 2005 – English Democrats". Political Science Resources. Retrieved 8 August 2007. 
  24. ^ "Greenwich and Woolwich".  
  25. ^ "Result: Staffordshire South".  
  26. ^ "Haltemprice and Howden". Politics : Ask Aristotle (London:  
  27. ^ "English Democrats Field More candidates than the SNP and Plaid Cymru". English Democrats. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2010. 
  28. ^ "Results: England". Election 2010 ( 
  29. ^ "UK > England > Yorkshire & the Humber > Doncaster North". Election 2010. BBC. 7 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  30. ^ UK Polling Report: "Oldham East and Saddleworth" 14 January 2011
  31. ^ Brian Wheeler, Barnsley by-election: What now for Lib Dems?, BBC News, 4 March 2011
  32. ^ Feltham & Heston at (accessed 12 May 2012)
  33. ^ "By-elections: Labour takes Corby from Conservatives", BBC News, 16 November 2012
  34. ^ "By-elections: Labour retains three seats" BBC News, 30 November 2012
  35. ^ "English Democrats Party European election broadcast". BBC. 18 May 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 
  36. ^ "English Democrats demand 'revolt' at elections launch".  
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Vote 2014: UK European election results",BBC News. Accessed 22 January 2015.
  39. ^ Blanshard, Heather (25 November 2005). "St. Johns Ward – Declaration of result of poll" ( 
  40. ^ "English Democrats Election Results". English Democrats Party. 2 May 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  41. ^ "Notice of election". Calderdale Council. 29 March 2010. Archived from the original on 10 May 2010. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  42. ^ "Local elections candidates 2010". Blackburn with Darwen Council. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  43. ^ By-election result: 3 March 2011, Salford City Council
  44. ^ By-election result: 7 January 2014, Salford City Council
  45. ^ "English Democrats: Party 'could win' council seats".  
  46. ^ "English Council Results". Vote 2012 ( 
  47. ^ "BNP and other fascist election candidates".  
  48. ^ "English Democrats in our sights". Vote 2012.  
  49. ^ "Warning! The English Democrats has become the new home for ex-members of the BNP" (PDF). Vote2012.  
  50. ^ "Another 'rival' faces post-election blues and meltdown". BNP Blog.  
  51. ^ "English mayoral elections and referendums".  
  52. ^ "London Mayoral Candidate announced". Vote English. English Democrats. Retrieved 14 May 2012. 
  53. ^ "Welsh assembly election 2007".  
  54. ^
  55. ^ "Gary Bushell Serious about London". English Democrats. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2007. 
  56. ^ "Fathers 4 Justice founder to enter Mayoral race".  
  57. ^ "London Elects: The Candidates". Retrieved 31 March 2008. 
  58. ^ "O'Connor quits Mayoral contest". BBC News. 25 April 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2008. 
  59. ^ "O'Connor accuses English Democrats of BNP link after quitting race for Mayor".  
  60. ^ "Matt O'Connor's shock resignation press release". English Democrats. 25 April 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2008. 
  61. ^ "London mayoral election 2008". BBC News. 6 May 2008. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  62. ^ "Kent police and crime commissioner results", BBC News England, 16 November 2012
  63. ^ "Merseyside police and crime commissioner result", BBC News Liverpool, 16 November 2012
  64. ^ "South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner results", BBC News England, 16 November 2012
  65. ^ Parish and Town Council Elections Results 2011
  66. ^ English Democrats Loose Another Councillor
  67. ^ Hertfordshire Country Council Elections 2013
  68. ^ Absent councillor in £7k allowance claim
  69. ^ Boston Borough Council, Election results to date
  70. ^ "No English parliament – Falconer".  
  71. ^ An English Parliament – We reject the plans for regional assemblies because, among other things, they will promote disunity and conflict within England.
  72. ^ English Democrats seek independence for England, BBC News, 19 March 2014
  73. ^ Leaving the EU (European Union) – The English Democrats believe that this country should leave the EU and will campaign forcefully to that end.
  74. ^ "Manifesto of the English Democrats" ( 
  75. ^ "English Democrats want vote on Monmouthshire Welshness", BBC News South West Wales, 13 March 2011
  76. ^ Immigration – We support a points system for entry to the UK which is based on the Canadian and Australian model. Points should be awarded for, among other things: educational and professional qualification; family links with England; financial resources; the ability to speak English. In other words, entry should be determined by our needs as a society and the ability of newcomers to be absorbed into the prevailing public culture. High priority should be given to creating a peaceful society which is bound together by shared values and perceptions. The wishes, security and interests of the people of England should be the dominant factors in determining asylum and immigration policies for England.
  77. ^ "Robin Tilbrook meets Russian Nationalists". Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  78. ^ "Right World:Russian Obraz". Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  79. ^ "English Democrats". 
  80. ^ Up to one in 10' English Democrat members were in BNP"'". BBC News. 23 April 2013. 


See also

Since 2010 a number of former members of the BNP have joined the project, with the party chairman quoted as saying that "they will help us become an electorally credible party."[79] In an April 2013 interview Tilbrook said that about 200-300 out of the party's membership of 3,000 were former BNP members. He said it was "perfectly fair" that such people would "change their minds" and join a "moderate, sensible English nationalist party".[80]

On 17 November 2011 the chairman of the English Democrats, Robin Tilbrook, met with Sergey Yerzunov, a member of the executive committee of the Russian right-wing group Obraz, 1389 Movement, Golden Dawn, Dane's Party, Slovenska Pospolitost, Czech Labour Party and Noua Dreaptă.

Nationalist connections

The party's manifesto states that "we need to change immigration policy so that it better reflects the needs and wishes of the English people". A points system for entry to the UK, based on the Canadian and Australian models, is advocated. The party's manifesto also suggests that the country should withdraw from international conventions on asylum and immigration.[76]


The party is supportive of historic counties. (It has called for a referendum on whether Monmouthshire should be part of England rather than Wales.[74][75] )

Traditional counties

The party favours deciding England's future relationship with the European Union by a nationwide multiple-choice referendum, which would include the option to withdraw from it entirely. The English Democrats are committed to campaign on the "Withdrawal" side of any referendum. The English Democrats policy is to maintain free-trade arrangements by rejoining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).[73]

European Union

In spring 2014, the party adopted the policy of English independence.[72]

English Independence

The party is against the establishment of regional assemblies in the Regions of England.[71]

The party has rejected suggestions that non-English MPs in the House of Commons should be barred from voting on England-specific matters, on the basis that this would lead to there being, in effect, two parliaments in the same building and that this would be problematic.[70]

  1. By converting the current House of Commons of the United Kingdom into a devolved English parliament within the asymmetrical devolution framework currently existing in the United Kingdom,
  2. By creating a new legislature with equal status to the Scottish Parliament and a more powerful Welsh Parliament within a re-constituted federal or confederal United Kingdom,
  3. As an independent, sovereign legislature for the re-founded state of England, upon dissolution of the Union, most likely to be created by independence for Scotland and Wales.

The party contends that the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales provide a voice to those two constituent nations of the United Kingdom (UK) that England lacks. The party proposes to convene the first exclusively English Parliament since the initial Laws in Wales Act 1535 through one of three methods:

English Parliament

Party policies

Local authority Category Number
Boston Borough Council District of Lincolnshire 1/32

The EDP lost one of their district councillors, Elliott Fountain, on 25 July 2013 after he failed to attend any meetings in six months.[68] Their remaining councillor in Boston represents the Fenside ward.[69]

The party had two district councillors elected (the first above parish level) in the 2011 local elections and obtained a further county council seat through the defection of a BNP, later "Independent Nationalist", councillor in Hertfordshire. However, the county councillor did not defend the seat in the May 2013 election, nor did the EDP put forward another candidate, losing them the seat.[67]

In November 2005 Paul Adams became the first elected English Democrats councillor at parish level for Crowborough Town Council in East Sussex; he was re-elected unopposed in 2007. In 2011 he was elected as an independent, so the English Democrats lost the seat.[65] Later that same year, Markyate Parish councillor Simon Deacon defected from the British National Party, to the English Democrats, having been elected unopposed. However he resigned in October 2012.[66] The English Democrats gained another Parish council seat when Mick Glynn was elected for the Dunsville ward of Hatfield Town Council, Doncaster. Following the resignation of Peter Davies, Glynn resigned his seat and membership of the party in February 2013.

English Democrats holding local government seats

Police force Candidate 1st round votes % Posn/no. cands
Cambridgeshire Constabulary Stephen Goldspink 7,219 8.1% 6 out of 7
Essex Police Robin Tilbrook 11,550 6.87% 6 out of 6
Kent Police Steven Uncles 10,789 5.3% 5 out of 6[62]
Merseyside Police Paul Rimmer 7,142 5.7% 6 out of 6[63]
South Yorkshire Police David Allen 22,608 15.6% 2 out of 5[64]

English Democrats contested five of the 41 Police and Crime Commissioner elections in November 2012. Results were:

Police Commissioners

[61] O'Connor received 10,695 first preference votes (representing 0.44% of the votes cast) in the mayoral contest, ranking ninth out of ten candidates, he received 73,538 second preference votes 3.67%, ranking eighth.[60] The English Democrats released a press statement on their website in response to his resignation voicing disappointment at his decision to quit the contest.[59].England First as well as the party's cooperation with far-right group [58] One week before the Mayoral election, on 25 April, Matt O'Connor announced to

for O'Connor's campaign was broadcast on 11 April. Party political broadcast A [57][56]

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