Voters could see a new party name on their ballot papers at the next general election after a former mayor of Bradley Stoke launched a new political party with ambitions to expand its membership across the UK.
Cllr Elaine Hardwick, who was first elected to the town council on a Conservative ticket in 2011 and served as mayor in 2016-17, resigned from the party in August 2018 after a disciplinary panel upheld allegations of bullying and harassment made against her.
In the May 2019 polls, she was successfully re-elected to the town council as an independent but failed in a bid to win the Bradley Stoke South seat on South Gloucestershire Council.
Cllr Hardwick’s new party, The Citizens Movement Party UK, was successfully registered with the Electoral Commission on 10th September.
Speaking to the Journal, Cllr Hardwick said she had decided to form her new party “due to residents being disillusioned with the current political situation and wanting change locally and nationally”.
Citing voters’ concerns over the state of the NHS and the possibility of the pension age being raised to 75, she added: “I have listened to many people about what concerns them, locally and nationally. Their concerns are [our] party’s concerns.”
“The Citizens Movement Party UK will bring change, bringing back old and new values to align with each other, bring the people together, to work together and bring back a nation that was once great.”
“The party will bring back the ‘voice of the people’ and the ‘spirit of our nation’, as these values have been eroded by parliament.”
Pressed by the Journal to reveal more about the new party, Cllr Hardwick said membership had reached 26 in the first week after being officially registered, adding “this is only the start”. She aims to grow membership further through conducting rallies, canvassing, leaflet posting, social media and by attending festivals.
Policy documents are in the process of being written and it is hoped to complete these “within a month”.
Asked about her declared party affiliation at Bradley Stoke Town Council, Cllr Hardwick said:
“Firstly, I would like to thank all those who voted for me as an independent in the May 2019 local election. As the party leader of The Citizens Movement Party UK, I have decided to be affiliated to the new party. My concern is the residents.”
Looking forward, Cllr Hardwick says her new party has prospective candidates ready to contest elections at town council, district council and parliamentary levels.
Photo – Launch event (l-r): Mary Bowden (treasurer), Casey Hardwick (nominated officer), Cllr Elaine Hardwick (leader), Laura Griffiths (policy & marketing), Terry Port (prospective candidate) and Brad Bowden (secretary).
This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 19). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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