The Yorkshire Party has launched its EU election campaign with the claim that the UK political system ignores the North of England, so however residents of Yorkshire voted in the 2016 Brexit referendum, London-based politicians are likely to ignore them.
The Party has nominated six candidates, from across Yorkshire. The team is headed by Party Leader Chris Whitwood, and North Yorkshire Councillor Mike Jordan. Chris voted remain in the referendum, while Mike was a prominent leave campaigner.
Chris Whitwood: We stand up for Yorkshire
Chris explained: “When I’m out talking to voters across Yorkshire, I so often hear people say that they feel the big parties don’t listen to them – whether in council chambers, Westminster or Brussels.
“Brexit has brought this home for many people – they’ve started to realise that, however they voted in the referendum, London-based politicians don’t really care about what people in Yorkshire think.
“Ultimately, it seems like, whether voting in the Brexit referendum or in a general election, the votes of people in Yorkshire don’t really matter to London-based politicians.
“Sure, we sometimes see Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May come to Yorkshire to launch a policy or campaign. And I’m sure Nigel Farage will make his way up here before long. But these visits last hours – and before they’ve had a chance to really experience our underfunded schools, failing transport systems or overwhelmed NHS, they are on the train back down to London.
“That’s why the Yorkshire Party is standing in the EU elections – we’re the only party standing in Yorkshire that is headquartered in Yorkshire. We are the only party that accepts people in Yorkshire voted to leave the EU, and recognises that we need to respect that while understanding the worries that remain voters and many businesses have about the future.”
The Party’s campaign will focus on four pledges:
Winning fair funding for Yorkshire’s schools, to address systematic under-investment;
Banning fracking while promoting green, sustainable energy generation;
Protecting the NHS, to make sure people receive treatment based on need rather than their ability to pay;
Investing in transport to improve local roads and rail services.
Councillor Mike Jordan: We must bring our region back together
Mike, the second on the list of candidates, said: “I campaigned for, and voted to, leave the EU. I believe we should respect that vote, and we must find a way to heal Yorkshire to bring our region back together.
“We can’t continue with a policy of division, where remainers and leavers continually attack each other. We need to find a way to respect the vote to leave, whilst making sure businesses are not harmed.
“Theresa May’s deal does neither of those things. It represents a worst of all words, halfway house: neither in nor out, but with the worst bits of both.
“Working with Chris Whitwood in this election, I will be presenting a positive vision for the future of Yorkshire: a vision where we come together as a region to start to address issues that really affect our daily lives, like our schools, roads and hospitals.”
ABOUT THE ELECTION
Unless Theresa May manages to win Commons support for her Brexit deal in the next few weeks, the UK will still be in the EU and will have to take part in the May 23-26 poll.
The Yorkshire region elects six members, by proportionate representation giving the Yorkshire Party a much better chance of winning seats than in a UK general election or in local elections run by the first-past-the-post system.
Party Chairman Arnie Craven has estimated securing as little as 11% of the turnout at the polls could secure a seat.
The Party’s nomination papers for the EU election were accepted by Leeds City Council, the lead EU election authority in Yorkshire and the Humber, on April 23, 2019.
Pictures by Robbie MacDonald
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE YORKSHIRE PARTY IN 60 SECONDS IN OUR VIDEO