Political party steadily growing

A COUNCILLOR says Hartlepool’s newest political party is going from strength to strength.

Hartlepool Independents – Putting Hartlepool First now has 67 members since it was established in November.

It was publicly launched with a meeting at the Grand Hotel in January and since then, membership has been steadily growing, with further applications still being processed.

Party leader and Independent Greatham ward councillor Geoff Lilley said: “I’m amazed at the public response.

“We have been taken aback.”

Coun Lilley said the party should be able to have a candidate in each town ward in the forthcoming local elections in May.

“We are doing all right – we will definitely be able to get a candidate in every ward and I think we probably have 33 candidates, which is pretty good,” he added.

“Most of the people involved are fresh-faced, which can’t be bad.

“One of the problems in many towns, especially Hartlepool, is that you get the same people offering the same politics under different wrapping.

“The way local government is going, we have got no option but to change and to seek different ways of doing things.”

He said the party would like to hear from anyone interested in joining the party, which has regular meetings and membership costing £1.

Coun Lilley added: “We want the party to be grass roots up.

“One of the reasons we started it was we wanted a party that reflected what people in Hartlepool thought, not a message from a long way away and outside Hartlepool.”

The Mail reported previously that the party, which includes fellow independent councillors Alison Lilley and Steve Gibbon, was formed to give independents more of a say within the council chamber and to set party politics aside.

• For more information on the party, which is registered with the Electoral Commission, visit www.puttinghartlepoolfirst.co.uk