A NEW political party has launched in Basingstoke and Deane made up of members who have become disillusioned by party politics.

Today (December 13) marks the first day of the Basingstoke and Deane Independents (BDI).

The make-up of the 11 strong group, who all currently sit on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, is made up of two existing independent councillors and nine former Labour Councillors.

Among the former Labour councillors are high profile names such as former leader and deputy leader of the Basingstoke Labour Group, Councillor Paul Harvey and Councillor Michael Westbrook.

The aim of the new group is to promote equality of opportunities and prosperity to everyone in the borough.

The 11 councillors will act free from party politics and believe that everyone who lives in the borough should benefit from economic prosperity and have access to good schools, housing, jobs, infrastructure and local services.

BDI councillors will first and foremost focus on their wards dealing with issues that matter to local residents.

Leader of the new party will be Overton, Laverstoke and Steventon ward member Councillor Ian Tilbury, with Cllr Harvey the groups deputy.

Cllr Tilbury said: ““We are a hard-working team who have a common drive and determination to improve the quality of life for residents within Basingstoke and Deane.

“By focusing on local issues, we believe we can build stronger communities and tackle issues at a very localised level.

“We have always been about the work we do in our communities and we say, come and join us and be part of something new and exciting in Basingstoke and Deane.”

The group said it would also focus on supporting vulnerable groups and will seek to play a part with others in tackling the climate change emergency and ending social injustice and inequality.

BDI will seek election to bodies, wards and divisions within the Borough of Basingstoke and Deane in the County of Hampshire.

The nine former Labour councillors have all resigned from the party effective immediately and will serve as BDI councillors.

BDI member and Brookvale and Kings Furlong ward representative, Councillor Jack Cousens said the decision has been in the works for some time but the group wanted to wait until the general election was over before making the announcement.

Cllr Cousens said: “It is a decision we had made regardless of what the result of the election was.

“We have found that a lot of people is the borough have become disillusioned by party politics and this way we are free to campaign on whatever matters we feel passionate about and feel that would benefit our residents.”

Basingstoke Conservative group leader, Councillor Simon Bound said the formation of the new party is a sign of voters and politicians giving up on the Labour Party. 

Cllr Bound said: "I only counted a quarter of Basingstoke Labour politicians at the [election] count and a similar number out campaigning over the last six weeks.


‪"The last 24 hours shows us that people, voters and politicians, have already given up on the Labour Party. This new independent group and last nights vote result shows that.

"I suspect the reason the new group isn’t larger is that many of those remaining Labour Councillors are intending to retire in next year’s local elections.”

As a result of this new party formation it now means that the Labour group now only has 12 councillors on the borough council.

BDI is looking to have candidates stand in next May’s all out borough elections.

BDI Councillors are:

Cllr Ian Tilbury (Leader)

Cllr Chloe Ashfield

Cllr Colin Phillimore

Cllr Paul Harvey (Deputy Leader)

Cllr Laura James

Cllr Carolyn Wooldridge

Cllr David Potter

Cllr Janet Westbrook

Cllr Chris Tomblin

Cllr Jack Cousens

Cllr Michael Westbrook