Derwentside Independents

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Derwentside Independents
LeaderWatts Stelling
Durham County Council
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Derwentside Independents is a localist political party in County Durham, England.[1] It was established in 2001 to contest elections to Derwentside District Council, later contesting elections to Durham County Council following the establishment of a unitary authority in 2013.


Founded by former Councillor Bill Stockdale, the party benefited from the lack of organised opposition to the Labour Party from the main national political parties in Derwentside. Other officers are Ronald Weightman, nominating officer, and John Jopling, treasurer.[1] According to its 2007 accounts, the party had 23 elected members and 22 general members.[2] However, as of 2012 this was reduced to 9 Elected Members and 22 general members.[3]

The party describes itself as an association of like-minded people who formed a party participating in local governance without any specific particular political bias. Each member has their own politics personal but chooses not to reveal that to an elector.

Election results[edit]

District Council elections[edit]

The party increased in strength following the 2003 local elections, gaining eight seats from the Labour Party in west and south Derwentside.[4] At the final election to Derwentside District Council in 2007, the party gained a further 10 seats, bringing its total to 24 and reducing Labour's majority to three.[5][6]

County Council elections[edit]

In March 2008, after feeling the Derwentside Independents could not offer a county-wide alternative to Labour, Councillor Bob Cook resigned from their ranks and joined the Liberal Democrats. He lost his seat at the subsequent local elections.[7] A rival Durham County Council Independent Group led by John Shuttleworth formed in 2008.[8]

Following the 2013 elections, the Derwentside Independents Party had 8 councillors on the unitary Durham County Council.[7] Their representation had fallen to 7 councilors by 2016. The party is part of one of two groups of independents on the county council, and forms part of the opposition to the ruling Labour Party.[8]

UK Parliament elections[edit]

Its leader, councillor Watts Stelling, contested the 2005 general election in the constituency of North West Durham.


  1. ^ a b "Derwentside Independents". Register of political parties. Electoral Commission. Archived from the original on 2012-12-25. Retrieved 2009-04-19.
  2. ^ "Statement of Accounts for Year ended 31 December 2007". Electoral commission. 2008. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  3. ^ "Statement of Accounts for Year ended 31 December 2007". Electoral commission. 2008. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  4. ^ "English councils: Non-metropolitan districts". The Times. 3 May 2003. p. 47.
  5. ^ "Results: Election 2007". The Times. 5 May 2007. p. 83.
  6. ^ Kearney, Tony (4 May 2007). "Labour holds Derwentside - but only just". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Results for the Derwentside area" (PDF). Durham County Council. 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-12-01.
  8. ^ a b Mckay, Neil (27 May 2008). "Political colleagues who aren't friends". The Journal. North-East England. Retrieved 10 February 2010.