Independent Network

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Independent Network
Independent Network logo
TypeNon-profit association
FocusIndependent political candidates
Area served

The Independent Network (IN) is a United Kingdom-based non-profit organisation supporting independent politicians and political candidates.

Founded in 2005, the IN consists of supporters and volunteers who advocate non-partisan politics. Martin Bell and Richard Taylor have been involved. A number of supporters of the IN are current independent representatives in European, national, regional and local governments and independent candidates in local and general elections.

The IN does not impose any political views on the individuals it supports. However, they must be non-discriminatory and adhere to a code of conduct proposed by Bell and endorsed by the IN executive committee.


Support for independent candidates in the UK has been growing in the past several decades. In 1987, independent candidates received fewer than 10,000 votes. In the 2005 general election, by contrast, 141,903 votes were cast for 160 independent candidates, the largest number of independent candidates since the 1880s.[1][2][3][4][5]

A group of likeminded individuals who had lost faith in party politics founded the IN in 2005. Their goal was to support independent candidates, something they felt no then existing organisation did. They saw a need to promote independents and political awareness as the British public had become disenchanted with Parliament[6] in the aftermath of political scandals including the Iraq War, the suicide of David Kelly and the Hutton Enquiry. Later scandals such as Cash for Honours, Smeargate and the MPs expenses scandal[7] have strengthened the IN's resolve.


Members of the secretariat deal with the administrative, day-to-day running of the organisation. They are also responsible for media and campaign enquiries. A three-member executive committee guides the organisation but avoids interference with candidates' policies, manifestos, or voting. Members of the Executive consist of Cllr Marianne Overton OBE, Jim Thornton, and Cllr Darren Hayday.

Cllr Marianne Overton OBE (Leader)[edit]

Too many laws are designed from a Westminster bubble to suit urban areas or particular campaign groups. They are propped up by Party members locally, who are expected to follow the party line.

I want us to think differently, starting with our rural towns and villages. We will need to fight very hard to achieve what is right for our residents. We don’t need more of everything. We need a balance of many successful local businesses bringing resources for our communities and fairer funding from central government to create communities that work.

Marianne works hard locally and also speaks nationally, directly challenging and improving laws for Lincolnshire.

As leader of the Lincolnshire Independents, she speaks up for over a thousand Independent councillors in England and Wales, getting our voice directly into corridors of power.

Marianne ‘s experience in business, health, Relate Lincolnshire, worldwide expeditions and as a governor of the University of Lincoln, is put to good use to help you.[8]

Jim Thornton (Treasurer)[edit]

Jim Thornton was an elected Independent Councillor on East Herts District Council, and is the author of Independents for East Herts, an introduction to getting elected and being a Councillor in Local Government. He is a Civil Engineer by profession, has a group of companies specialising in property investment and management, is a governor of two schools, a trustee of several charities, and a Reader in the Church of England.

In 2006 he set up East Herts People [9] as a political party to promote the cause of Independents at local level, and fielded thirteen independent candidates in the 2007 Council election. In 2009 an EHP Independent won a Hertford Town Council by-election, and another EHP Independent came second in a county council election.

Cllr Darren Hayday (Nominating Officer)[edit]

Darren Hayday is a lifelong resident of Sands and Booker and also lives inside the ward. He is well known and trusted in Wycombe, having gone to school there and having served as a Councillor for Wycombe District Council, specifically for Booker and Cressex from 2003 to 2011. He had the great honour of being the mayor of High Wycombe in 2006–07. Also is a governor of the local Millbrook School in Sands. Having been the current Bucks County Cllr for the past 4 years he has worked tirelessly for the community, hopefully making a positive difference.

Darren is married with one son; he is a Chartered Marketer and works in Marlow for a respected global marketing agency.

He has already helped to form an alliance of Independent future candidates in Buckinghamshire and used his marketing skills including his newly acquired Social Media and Digital Marketing blended with the traditional door-knocking and tele-canvassing skills. He is planning to write a short paper to all future independent candidates, encouraging them to use the same formula to win their own elections


The IN is supported by several notable figures in independent politics,[10] including Martin Bell; Richard Taylor MP;[11] Terry Waite and Esther Rantzen. During the 2005 elections, with the IN's backing, Reg Keys[12] stood against Tony Blair in Blair's own Sedgefield Constituency because of the death of his son in the Iraq War.

In January 2010, Waite sent an open letter to all independent Parliamentary candidates giving them his support and approval.[13] The letter also discusses several problems Waite sees with the Westminster system and British politics in general.


Independent PPCs at the January Workshop in Birmingham.

The IN offers services and support to independent candidates free of charge. Services provided include the following.

  • Administrative and legal assistance for election purposes; independent candidates set up on their own or alternatively register and maintain new political parties.
  • A list of best practices for campaigning, fundraising, public relations, and appropriate use of the Internet.
  • Public opinion and policy research.
  • Organising debates and discussions.

The IN also encourages members to contact one another for advice and guidance, to promote cohesive rather than adversarial politics.

In January 2010, the IN organised a training session on procedure in the UK Parliament for independent PPCs. The event was run by Parliamentary Outreach,[14] a government agency that works to expand the public's knowledge of Parliament. That same month the IN held a workshop in the Birmingham Priory Rooms to instruct PPCs on the electoral process and regulations. Bell, Taylor, Rantzen, and Lynn Faulds Wood attended the event.[15][16][17]

In the 2010 election, the IN endorsed independent candidates to provide a quality marker for independent politicians. Endorsed candidates could use the IN logo and branding.[18]


  1. ^ 1987 Election Results
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Vernon Bogdanor comments on the dying days of party politics". London: Guardian. 22 September 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  6. ^ "Mavericks Bring Election Alive". 21 April 2005. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  7. ^ Arthur, Charles (20 May 2009). "Guardian's expenses review". London: Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  8. ^ Lincolnshire Independents homepage
  9. ^ East Herts People homepage
  10. ^ Michael White, political editor (24 March 2005). "Bell Backs Indie MPs". London: Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2010.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Martin Bell and Dr Richard Taylor give their backing to the Independent Network
  12. ^ Article about Reg Key's campaign
  13. ^ "Terry Waite Letter to the Independent Network". 6 January 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  14. ^ The Parliamentary Outreach Website
  15. ^ A comment on the workshop
  16. ^ "About the Birmingham Workshop". Retrieved 26 August 2010.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Independent Network Workshop, Broken Society and The Election Date". 25 January 2010. Retrieved 26 August 2010.
  18. ^ IN Endorsement Pack[dead link]

External links[edit]