Mike Rigby, Independent candidate for the Bishops Lydeard Ward has been endorsed by the Independent Network, the Richard Taylor and Martin Bell backed national organisation for independent candidates and representatives.
The Independent Network endorsement comes three weeks ahead of the 2011 Local Elections. It provides Mike with the identity and support of a national campaign that promotes politically independent candidates and councillors.
Endorsement requires Mike to commit to the Bell Principles, thought to be the first set of conduct guidelines created by a political organisation for its affiliated candidates and representatives.
The Bell Principles are used by the Independent Network and its affiliated groups to influence the conduct, but not the policies, of its endorsed candidates. Amongst other things, the principles encourage candidates and groups to be free from the control of any political party, pressure group or whip, non-discriminatory, and to be guided by considered evidence, their real world experience and expertise, their constituencies and their consciences.
There are over 2000 independent councillors already in the UK. The Independent Network hopes to endorse many local independent groups and candidates in the run up to the local elections.
Mike Rigby said:
“Endorsement by the Independent Network and the support for independent candidates from both Martin Bell and Dr Richard Taylor places independent candidates and councillors amongst an impressive network of independently-minded politicians committed to serve their constituencies. We are looking forward to helping the Independent Network extend its campaign to a local level as well as benefit from the national media coverage the organisation achieves.”
Martin Bell OBE, ex-Independent MP and supporter of the Independent Network, said:
“This is a time for independents to challenge the politics of the status quo; it is a time for independent candidates either to stand together in Independent Groups or to help in the campaigns of others. It is a time for the election of independents, without party baggage but with real world experience, to be a force for honest politics in local government. They will be answerable not to a political party but only to their constituents and their consciences.”
Tamsin Omond, national coordinator for the Independent Network, said:
“As the local elections approach the Independent Network is receiving numerous requests for endorsement from local independent groups. Local politics should not be compromised by party politics. Mike’s commitment to the Bell Principles enables him to benefit from the national identity and activity of the Independent Network. Independent candidates are the only alternative to party political candidates. Instead of being motivated by an ambition to climb a party ladder, Mike wants to represent the local people, which is exactly what local politics should do.”