The English Democrats Party
The English Democrats Party (EDP) was founded on 17 September 2002 by the merger of the English National Party (ENP), which had been founded in 1997 by Robin Tilbrook, and several other small English nationalist parties. The EDP is attempting to position itself as the English equivalent of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Plaid Cymru (PC) in Wales.
The party hopes to attract support ahead of the independence referendum in Scotland in the autumn of 2014.
In January 2005 the EDP absorbed the Reform UK Party, founded in 2000 as a breakaway from the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and in February 2007 the EDP absorbed the Dartford-based New England Party (NEP), founded in 2003 by Mike Tibby.
The EDP has never won a Westminster parliamentary seat at a general election or by-election in its ten-year existence.
The EDP had one elected Mayor (Peter Davies in Doncaster) but he quit the party in 2013 because of what he felt was the party's associations with racists and racism.
The party publishes the England Awake! magazine (2011-) and previously published The English Voice (EV) (May 2003-2010) quarterly magazine. The EDP claims 3,000 members, though in fact it is believed to be considerably lower in terms of actually paid up members.
The EDP stood 87 candidates in the 2012 local elections and averaged 10.3%.
Despite some promising signs for the EDP in the 2012 Police & Crime Commissioner elections, by the 2013 County Council Elections the party was another of the victims of the surge of UKip, and the party performed disastrously, coming last in many of the wards that they stood in. The party stood only 42 candidates, despite claiming internally that it would have over 300 candidates and achieve an election broadcast. The electoral commission and the police are also investigating alleged irregularities in regard to some EDP candidates.
The rot had been apparent for many, when the party achieved an appalling 70 votes (0.17%) at the Eastleigh by-election during February 2013. The party either tied with or lost to novelty candidates including "Elvis" and a candidate who liked beer!
Infusion of former BNP members into the EDP
Robin Tilbrook declared at the EDP’s 10th annual conference in Leicester on 24 September 2011: “BNP supporters are joining us. They will help us become an electorally credible party. We need to be sure they ascribe to civic or cultural nationalism and that they will be an asset to our party, but we do not need to be too defensive”.
The EDP passed a policy amendment at the same conference requiring “every candidate for any office in the party shall have been a paid-up member of this party for at least 2 years immediately preceding the date of application or nomination”. This has not prevented former members of the BNP becoming office bearers of the EDP immediately upon joining. The influx of so many BNP members led to the party's most senior elected public official, Peter Davies-the Mayor of Doncaster, quitting in 2013.
The English Democrats Party: Profiles
Robin C. W. Tilbrook: Co-founder and chairman, EDP, since 2002. Solicitor and the EDP’s principal funder. Tilbrook addressed a Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) No Sharia Here! demonstration outside Lambeth Palace, London on 11 September 2008.
Steven Uncles: Chairman, EDP South East and South West areas. EDP member since 2003, who runs the English Passport blog. Uncles has been the prime mover in attempts by the EDP to establish links with other like-minded nationalist parties and organisations, including the England First Party (EFP) ahead of the 2009 European Elections and separately with Sinn Féin (SF) in Northern Ireland.
Former EDP activists
Bill Baker: Founder and Leader, English Nationalist Alliance (ENA), since 2010; former member: BNP and EDP, 2009-2010. Baker co-organised an English Defence League (EDL) demonstration outside Harrow Central Mosque on 29 August 2009 which was cancelled, but eventually took place under the Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) banner thirteen days later on 11 September.
Stephen Gash: Founder and Organiser, Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) – England (originally No Sharia Here), since 2007; co-founder, Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE), in 2007 and former EDP National Council member.
Ben Weald: Former EDP parliamentary candidate in Enfield and Southgate at the 2010 general election, and who has travelled extensively in support of the English Nationalist Alliance (ENA) and March for England (M4E). Weald resigned from the EDP in 2012.
Prominent BNP recruits to the EDP
Chris Beverley: Chairman, EDP Leeds branch, since 2011. Former BNP Regional Organiser for Yorkshire and Humber, 2009-2011 and BNP member, 1997-2011. Beverley continues to be employed as constituency office manager to Andrew Brons, BNP MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber. He runs the Morley Patriot blog.
Eddy Butler: Former member, National Front (NF), 1980-1986; Campaign Director, Freedom Party (FP), 2001-2003; BNP member, 1986-1996, 1998-2001 and 2003-2010; National Organiser, BNP, 2008-2010 and founder, BNP Reform Group, in 2010. Butler continues to be employed as a research assistant to Andrew Brons, BNP MEP. Butler’s membership application to the EDP was approved by the party’s National Council on 26 November 2011 by 8 votes to 1 with one abstention. Those voting in favour included Robin Tilbrook.
One could easily be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that this trio of Yorkshire-based European Parliament-funded employees of Andrew Brons are serving two masters, let alone hypocritically campaigning for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU while being paid via one of its institutions.
ENGLISH LOBBY (EL) The EDP co-founded the English Lobby (EL) in April 2004, together with the Freedom Party (FP) [since defunct] and Third Way (3W), [which has since become the National Liberal Party] as a cross-party loose umbrella lobby organisation to defend and promote English national identity, values and culture and the national interests of the ethnic English community. The FP and 3W both later withdrew from the English Lobby.
The English Democrats Party Key Politics
- The EDP does not advocate independence for England but campaigns for the establishment of a devolved English Parliament within a renegotiated UK. It campaigns for Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and for a complete end to mass immigration.
- The EDP aims to assert Englishness consciousness and to preserve and promote English culture, heritage and national identity. It has sought to establish common ground with other small parties since the 2004 European Elections.
- The EDP has tried in vain since 2010 to unite the disparate English nationalist parties and campaigning organisations in the so-called ‘English Movement’. In the run up to the 2010 general election the EDP approached other fringe parties, including UKIP, in order to establish electoral pacts, which did not materialise.