Yorkshire First

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Yorkshire First
Chair John Boocock
Leader Richard Carter
Deputy Leader Stewart Arnold
Founded April 2014
Ideology Yorkshire regionalism
Political position Centre
European affiliation European Free Alliance[1]
Colours      Sky blue,      white

Yorkshire First is a regionalist political party in Yorkshire, a historic county ofEngland. Launched by Richard Carter and Stewart Arnold ahead of the 2014 European Parliament election,[2] it campaigns for the establishment of a Yorkshire Parliament within the UK, similar to the Scottish Parliament orNational Assembly of Wales.

It is otherwise described as a party of the “pragmatic centre”, with “progressive views on economic, social and environmental issues”.[3] Its constitution rejects the whip system, and its candidates agree to abide by Martin Bell‘s code of conduct for politicians.


Yorkshire First faced its first electoral test when it stood three candidates in Yorkshire and the Humber in the 2014 European elections.[5] The party’s launch was welcomed by a spokesperson for Mebyon Kernow.[6] During the campaign, the party complained about BBC and Ofcom rules which precluded it from having an election broadcast.[7] It came 8th of 10 parties with 19,017 votes (1.47%),[8] which the party’s lead candidate, Stewart Arnold, described as “a hugely significant result”.[9]

In late 2014, a former Labour councillor, Paul Salveson, joined the party, saying the “vitality in Scotland confirmed that it was the right choice to make”.[10] He stood as the party’s parliamentary candidate in Colne Valley in the 2015 general election.[11][12]

The party’s 2014 conference took place in Leeds on 22 November 2014, with Ed Straw (Jack Straw‘s brother) as a guest speaker.[13] By then, the party was planning to field up to 27 candidates in the 2015 UK election and considering Morley and Outwood as a target seat.[14]

Bob Buxton, a physics teacher at Leeds City College who is opposed to university tuition fees,[15] was announced as the party’s parliamentary candidate in Leeds North West. He believes devolution will improve housing and transport development, including railways.[16][17] Former GP Dr Rod Sutcliffe stood as the candidate in Calder Valley,[18] lecturer Darren Hill in Shipley[19] and former Liberal Democrat MEP Diana Wallis in Haltemprice and Howden.[20]

In 2015, the party was granted observer status in the European Free Alliance grouping[21] and has since become a full member.[22]

The party launched its manifesto in February 2015 with calls for a directly-elected parliament for Yorkshire, a Yorkshire Futures Fund to drive sustainable growth, a new “Made in Yorkshire” label and a public holiday for the region on 1 August,Yorkshire Day.[23] The party’s 2015 election slogan is “A voice for the region”. Many candidates entered this as the ‘description’ for their ballot paper, with the party’s name instead appearing as its emblem on the ballot paper.[citation needed]The party stood in 14 different constituencies on 7 May 2015.[24]

In March 2015, Vicky Butler, who was intending to contest Kingston upon Hull North for the UK Independence Party, defected to Yorkshire First and stood there for Yorkshire First.[25]

Wayne Chadburn is Yorkshire First’s first local council representative, having been returned unopposed to Penistone Town Council.[26]

Electoral performance[edit]

European Parliament election, 2014[edit]

The European Parliament election was held in the UK on 22 May 2014.

Constituency Candidates Votes  % Results Notes
Yorkshire and the Humber Stewart Arnold, Richard Carter, Richard Honnoraty 19,017 1.5 None elected Multi-member constituencies;
party list[27]

United Kingdom general election, 2015[edit]

Yorkshire First had candidates standing in 14 parliamentary seats. None was elected.

Constituency Candidate Votes  %
Barnsley, E Tony Devoy 647 1.7[28]
Beverley & Holderness Lee Walton 658 1.2[29]
Calder Valley Rod Sutcliffe 389 0.7[30]
Colne Valley Paul Salveson 572 1.0[31]
Dewsbury Richard Carter 236 0.4[32]
Yorkshire, E Stewart Arnold 720 1.4[33]
Haltemprice & Howden Diana Wallis 479 1.0[34]
Hemsworth Martin Roberts 1,018 2.4[35]
Hull, E Martin Clayton 270 0.8[36]
Hull, N Vicky Butler 366 1.0[37]
Leeds, NW Bob Buxton 143 0.3[38]
Morley & Outwood Arnie Craven 479 1.0[39]
Shipley Darren Hill 543 1.1[40]
York, Central Chris Whitwood 291 0.6[41]

By-elections, 2015-[edit]

Date of election Constituency Candidate Votes  %
6 May 2016 Sheffield, Brightside & Hillsborough Stevie Manion 349 1.5[42]

2015 local elections[edit]

In local elections, Yorkshire First won five seats on parish/town councils: Wayne Chadburn was elected unopposed toPenistone parish council, Tony and Eddie Devoy were elected in Brierley, and Bob Buxton was elected to Rawdon parish council. They joined Lee Walton, a former independent councillor in Hornsea, who joined Yorkshire First before the election and defended his seat in May 2015 as a Yorkshire First candidate.[43]

In August, a Yorkshire First town councillor, Tony Devoy, contested the Dearne North seat on Barnsley Council. He received 9.8% of the votes, 25 votes behind UKIP and over twice as many votes as the Conservatives. Labour held on to its safe seat.[44]