Blackpool political group hopes to add to its ranks

Blackpool's newest political movement is hoping to attract more supporters in the New Year.

Friday, 27th December 2019, 6:00 am

The Independents secured two seats on Blackpool Council at May's local elections and fielded four candidates at December's General Election.

Now the group hopes more people will join its ranks in order to offer voters an alternative to the main political parties.

Independents group leader Coun Gary Coleman said: "In May we thought we hadn't a chance of winning in Blackpool but we proved we could.

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Debbie and Gary Coleman celebrate being elected at the May local elections

"In the New Year we will meet up and look at forming an Independents forum.

"We will look at building some sort of cohesive force to stand at by-elections, with a view to putting more candidates forward at the next local elections in 2023."

Although the Independent candidates only secured a fraction of the votes at the General Election, they believe they can succeed at a local level.

Coun Coleman added: "Some people told me they had voted for me in May, but couldn't at the General Election because of the national picture.

"It was proved in May that people want an alternative and if we can build a good group of quality candidates and have more time to prepare, then I think there's a lot we can do.

"The advantage Independents have over being a member of a party is that they are not told how to vote.

"You can vote purely on the basis of what is good for the town."

Coun Coleman and his wife Debbie, who are both former Labour councillors, won seats at the May elections in Brunswick and Marton.

Former Conservative councillors Maxine and Peter Callow, who represent Norbreck, were also elected in May as Independents but are not aligned to the wider movement.

It was the first time in decades that Independents won seats on the council.

Independent candidates stood in Blackpool South, Blackpool North and Cleveleys, Fylde, and Wyre and Preston North at the General Election.