Yorkshire First supporters at the election campaign launch in Hull.
Yorkshire First yesterday launched its general election campaign in Hull. Formed in April last year, the new political party advocates for devolved powers for Yorkshire – the historic county of Northern England. Yorkshire is also the largest county in the United Kingdom.
Fielding candidates in most of the region’s parliamentary seats as well as contesting some local council seats next month, the party is floating its co-founder, Stewart Arnold, for the East Yorkshire constituency seat.
“There is definitely a public mood for change in the way politics operates in this country and we are right behind that,” said Mr Arnold, who added: “The Scottish referendum has accelerated that debate and we believe it is only right that people in Yorkshire have access to the same type of devolved governance that you now see in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and even London.”
Last year, Yorkshire First participated European elections where the party’s candidate was co-founder Richard Carter who received 19,000 votes. Since then, the party has been mobilising itself in the region as well as the country at large.
“We got 1.5 per cent of the vote. That’s around 19,000 votes for something that was completely new,” explained Mr Arnold, adding, “Since then, what happened in the Scottish referendum debate has actually helped our argument because people are now seeing change elsewhere but not here.”
The party has targeted key constituencies throughout the county. It has chosen former Lib Dem MEP Diana Wallis to contest against incumbent David Davis for Haltemprice and Howden constituency.
“We are attracting people from across the political divide. “I think people like the idea of choice but don’t necessarily believe UKIP is the best alternative to the main parties. We are neither left or right because we believe people should come before party,” said Ms Wallis.
The party has also brought on board a former UKIP candidate to contest in Hull North.
“I believe local people should be much closer to the decision-making process which affects their lives. I want to see more powers devolved away from London to Yorkshire but I also want to see communities in Hull able to make decisions on what works best for them. Too many decisions in this country are taken in Whitehall. That has to change,” said Vicky Butler.