UK Politics

English Democrats launch campaign for more mayors

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Media captionEnglish Democrats leader Robin Tilbrook on his party's goals

The English Democrats will launch their annual conference with a bid to increase the number of directly elected mayors across England.

The party, which campaigns for an English parliament, has a high profile in Doncaster where one of its members is the town's elected mayor.

Leader Robin Tilbrook told the BBC his party would "radically change the way local government is administered".

He said the party was in "good heart" ahead of the conference in Nottingham.

Under laws brought in under Labour, directly elected mayors can be introduced if local people back the idea in a referendum. Since 1997, there have been 37 referendums - 13 of which were passed, with the other 24 resulting in a "No" vote.

Mr Tilbrook told the BBC: "We have registered with every local authority in England to have referenda on having elected mayors, so we will radically change the way that local government is administered and dealt with, and we will be doing that in a way that is much more democratic."

He said he expected a "lively" conference in Nottingham after "quite a good" general election result. The party, which was set up eight years ago, fielded 107 candidates across England and gained 64,826 votes, or 0.2% of the overall UK electorate.

The party is best known for its campaign for an English parliament in the wake of devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mr Tilbrook said both Labour and the current coalition government were not looking after England, and claimed many planned spending cuts "are focused on attacking English interests and do not touch Scotland or Wales".

He said an agreement in the coalition deal between the Conservatives and Lib Dems to set up a commission to examine the "West Lothian Question" - about why Scottish MPs could vote on England-only matters - was a good sign.

"We have already got to a point where the Westminster establishment is aware that they have got to do something about this. Obviously if they fail to do something properly about it, we will be there ready to push them on."

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