Here come the English Democrats

JERVIS Kaye, defeated in the Woodbridge by-election a couple of weeks ago, is to lead the charge of the English Democrats in the East of England division for the European Parliamentary elections on June 10.

By Graham Dines

JERVIS Kaye, defeated in the Woodbridge by-election a couple of weeks ago, is to lead the charge of the English Democrats in the East of England division for the European Parliamentary elections on June 10.

The Ongar-based party wants to give voters across the six counties of our region an opportunity to show their support for an English Parliament and against European-style regional government.

The English Democrats' intervention could mean that the biggest ballot paper in UK electoral history will be offered to voters in Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire on June 10.


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Lists are expected to be lodged by the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UK Independence Party, the Greens, British National Party, YourParty.com, the English Democrats, George Galloway's Respect and Unity group, and the Independent Martin Bell. It is believed the Christian Peoples' Alliance, the Socialist Party of Great Britain and the Liberal Party are also considering whether to enter the fray.

Meanwhile, the misery continues for Labour candidates in local government by-elections as the party's vote slumped in last Thursday's batch of contests.

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The Liberal Democrats bounced back from the previous week's disasters to produce gains from the Conservatives in the London borough of Hillingdon and in the Thame division of Oxfordshire county council.

But the Tories compensated by winning a Lib Dem seat in South Ribble borough up in Lancashire while in a Derbyshire county council division, Labour slid from a close second to a very poor third.

A projection based on six comparable results last week gives the Tories a 15.8% nationwide lead over Labour and the calculation for May, on the basis of 18 results, gives a 13.5% Conservative margin.

An analysis of party standings in 15 wards where all three of the major parties fought gives projected nationwide figures of Tories 44.9%, Lab 29.9% and Lib Dem 20.3%.

If this is repeated on June 10 and should the Government then recover by as much as it did between the 2000 council polls and the 2001 General Election - and that's a big assumption - that would leave Labour with a margin of barely 2% by May next year which is believed to be the Prime Minister's favoured option.

If Labour does not manage to start clawing back popularity, it could make it too risky for Mr Blair to go to the country then, meaning a General Election in late 2005 or 2006 although the county council elections would still take place on May 5.

COLCHESTER'S Liberal Democrat MP Bob Russell impishly asked Transport Secretary Alistair Darling what form of transport he used to travel to and from Liverpool Street station on April 1 when he launched the new Greater Anglia franchise. The reply from minister of state Tom McNulty was "the car."

As the Transport Department and Liverpool Street are both served by the Circle Line underground, perhaps Mr Darling should have taken the opportunity to discover for himself the appalling time keeping of the Circle Line. If he had, he would have been late for the launch.

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