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Ex-Ukip members set up new political party Medway People's Voice

By Ed McConnell

A new political party has been launched to combat what its founders call ‘national party dogma’.

So far 23 people have expressed an interest in running for Medway People’s Voice (MPV) in May’s local election.

The party, which has held its first meeting, has been set up by former Ukip members Chris Spalding and Cllr Mick Pendergast (Ind).

Chris Spalding says for too long Medway has been run by councillors who act in the interests of their party rather than their voters
Chris Spalding says for too long Medway has been run by councillors who act in the interests of their party rather than their voters

They think Labour and Tory councillors are often unable to act in the interests of the electorate due to national policy and that there’s a need for independent representatives who aren’t required to toe the party line.

Mr Spalding, who ran the Ukip’s Rochester and Strood division before resigning in March, said: “For too long Medway Council has been subject to the narrow views of a collection of people representing national political parties.

“MPV is for all in Medway — individuals and businesses, adults and young people. By taking a collection of views and ideas you get a balanced position rather than one extreme or another.

“We accept people will have differing opinions on national issues. That is fine. Our emphasis is on local issues because we are local people in the community.”

Medway councillor Mick Pendergast
Medway councillor Mick Pendergast

While he did not rule out the future prospect of an MPV candidate standing in a general election for now he and Mr Pendergast are focusing on May.

“There seems to be a real appetite for this. The fact some well known councillors have recently quit their parties shows there is clearly an issue,” he said.

“We very much believe in a common sense approach — in actions not words. We’d also fight for things like an hour’s free parking during the day in roads near the hospital, more investment in sports facilities and developers building the correct amount of social and affordable housing.”

Mr Spalding added: “When voting in council or in committee members will be expected to consider not just the whole of Medway when deciding a matter but also any specific effects on the ward and people they represent.

“There is no whip system so a MPV councillor can, and is expected to, vote according to the best interests of those who gave them the title councillor.”

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