National Democrats (United Kingdom)

The National Democrats (ND) was a British nationalist party in the United Kingdom (UK). The former party chairman, Ian Anderson, died on 2 February 2011,[1] and the party was de-registered with the Electoral Commission on 10 March 2011.

National Democrats (UK)
IdeologyBritish nationalism
Right-wing populism
Third positionism
National conservatism
Political positionFar-right
National Democrats logo


The party evolved out of the Flag Group wing of the British National Front (NF), which gained control of the NF during the early 1990s. Party leader Ian Anderson sought to change the name of the NF to the National Democrats. 72% of the membership voted for the change in a postal ballot; by changing the name it was hoped to avoid the connotations associated with the NF name.[2] However, the move was resisted by other NF members and so the National Democrats came into existence as a new party.


The party contested two parliamentary by-elections in 1996. In Hemsworth, Mike Cooper received 111 votes (0.5%) and, in South East Staffordshire, Sharron Edwards received 358 votes (0.8%).[3] Although the NDs never took part in regularly scheduled European elections, it did contest the Merseyside West by-election in which Simon Darby stood but only gained 718 votes (1.2%).[4]

In the 1997 general election, the party contested 21 seats and received a total of 10,829 votes, compared to 35,832 for its rivals in the British National Party (BNP), and 2,719 votes for the NF. The party's best result was in West Bromwich West, where Steven Edwards received 11.4% of the vote. However, this was not a normal constituency, since this was the constituency of then House Speaker Betty Boothroyd, which major parties by convention do not contest. The party was severely damaged immediately before the 1997 election when it was revealed by The Sunday Times and the Daily Mail that leading member Andy Carmichael was working for MI5.[5] Where the West Midlands had been a stronghold, it now began to fall apart, and in 1998, the local branch, which included leading ND activist Simon Darby, defected to the BNP, leaving only a small number of party loyalists behind. The party did not nominate candidates in the 2001 general election.

In the early 1990s, the National Front was left a legacy of almost one hundred thousand pounds by a party supporter. Following the 1995 name change to the National Democrats the legacy remained with the National Democrats under the control of Ian Anderson. The money was spent on the purchase of Britannia House the building doubled as party HQ and the site of Anderson’s printing business.[6]

The National Democrats attempted to give the impression of attracting a mass membership. It never did; most people who left the NF joined the BNP instead, resulting in the legacy being used for election work and costly deposits, all of which were lost. The party printed a glossy monthly magazine called Vanguard that was edited by Blackburn-based Stephen Ebbs which lost money on every print and was subsidised by legacy cash.[6][7] Publication of the former NF paper, The Flag, continued, now in support of the new party.[8]

Anti-paedophile campaign

In January 1998, Ian Anderson accompanied members of the anti-paedophile campaign People Power when they delivered a letter to Downing Street demanding tougher action against child abusers.[9] Also in attendance were other extreme right wingers, including Paul Ballard of the BNP and Bill Binding, exposed by Searchlight as a leader of the British branch of the Ku Klux Klan and a former BNP parliamentary candidate. A plan to hand out extreme right-wing literature was abandoned when Curtis Sliwa, leader of the Guardian Angels vigilante group, turned up with members, some of whom were non-white. People Power’s literature was produced by Ian Anderson, from his printing business in Dagenham.[10]

Following this, the National Democrats set up a website called Paedophile Watch to "out" suspected child abusers with leaflets and demonstrations. The site also listed newspaper reports containing the names and addresses of convicted sex offenders.[11] Reporters from the News of the World sought information from Ian Anderson for their "name and shame" stunt.[9]

Change in activities

Campaign for National Democracy
Ian Anderson

By 2000, the National Democrats had ceased to exist with only the Flag newspaper being published as an independent publication, without reference to the National Democrats or the Campaign for National Democracy.[6][13]

By the beginning of 2002, the party continued as a pressure group under the name Campaign for National Democracy;[14] until 2008.[15] The party officially ceased to exist after the death of its leader at the beginning of 2011.

Leading members

  • Simon Darby, parliamentary candidate, left the party in 1998 for the BNP and became its press officer and deputy leader.[16]
  • Martin Wingfield,co-editor of The Flag, left the party in 2001 and joined the BNP and became editor of its Voice of Freedom paper.[17]
  • Sharron Edwards, parliamentary candidate, left the party in 1999, stood as first candidate on the West Midlands list for the BNP in the 1999 European elections and later became deputy chairwoman of the BNP[18] before helping to form the Freedom Party.
  • Gary Cartwright, regional organiser[19] and local council candidate,[20] later joined UKIP and is currently parliamentary advisor to Nikki Sinclaire.[21]

Parliamentary election results

1996-1997 by-elections

Date of electionConstituencyCandidateVotes%
1 February 1996HemsworthM Cooper1110.5[3]
11 April 1996South East StaffordshireMrs S Edwards3580.8[3]
12 December 1996Merseyside West (European Parliament)Simon Darby7181.2[4]

1997 general election

The party contested 21 seats, receiving a total of 10,829 votes (less than 0.1% of the total). No candidates were elected, and the party lost all but one of its deposits.[22]

Birmingham LadywoodAndrew Carmichael6851.8
BlackburnTina Wingfield6711.4
BurtonKeith Sharp6041.1
DagenhamMichael Hipperson1830.5
Derby SouthRobert Evans3170.6
Devon EastGary Needs1310.2
Dudley NorthSimon Darby4691
East HamGraham Hardy2900.7
East YorkshireMichael Cooper3810.8
Halesowen and Rowley RegisKaren Needs5921.2
Leicester SouthKevin Sills3070.6
Leicester WestClive Potter1860.5
Londonderry EastIan Anderson810.2
Nottingham SouthSharron Edwards4460.9
Plymouth DevonportStephen Ebbs2380.5
SouthportMichael Middleton920.2
Southwark North and BermondseyIngga Yngvisson950.2
Stoke-on-Trent SouthBrian Lawrence2880.6
Tiverton and HonitonDel Charles2360.4
West Bromwich WestSteven Edwards4,18111.4*
Wolverhampton North EastMartin Wingfield3560.9

* West Bromwich West was the Speaker's seat and was not contested by the major parties. The candidates were Betty Boothroyd (Speaker, 54.8%), Richard Silvester (Independent, 23.3) and Steven Edwards (ND, 11.4%)


1997 by-elections

Date of electionConstituencyCandidateVotes%
31 July 1997UxbridgeIan Anderson1570.5
23 September 1999WiganS Ebbs1000.6


See also


  1. Searchlight magazine, issue 429, March 2011
  2. John Rentoul, "New name just a Front for 'National Democrats'", The Independent, 17 July 1995
  3. Results of byelections in the 1992-97 Parliament,
  4. European Parliament elections,
  5. "Former MI5 spy - I was a rent boy", Cannock Chase Post, 22 February 2006. (Archive retrieved 15 June 2015)
  6. "Normal-ish service resumed". Eddy Butler. 13 March 2012.
  7. "Vanguard Magazine". 14 December 2001. Archived from the original on 14 December 2001. Retrieved 4 August 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  8. "The Flag Newspaper". 5 February 2002. Archived from the original on 5 February 2002. Retrieved 4 August 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  9. "Anti-paedophile group is linked to National Front". The Guardian. 16 August 2000.
  10. "Paedophile campaign infiltrated". The Independent on Sunday. 15 March 1998.
  11. "Anti-paedophile group is linked to National Front". The Daily Telegraph. 13 August 2000.
  12. "Introducing... The National Democrats". 21 December 1996. Archived from the original on 21 December 1996. Retrieved 4 August 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  13. "The Flag". 5 July 2009. Archived from the original on 5 July 2009. Retrieved 4 August 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  14. National Democrats website, 24 March 2002
  15. last known National Democrats website, May 2008
  16. Hope not hate: "A-Z of the BNP", A-Z of the BNP (Archive retrieved 15 June 2015)
  17. Biography on BNP website (Archive retrieved 15 June 2015)
  18. "Family face BNP wing extremism", Sunday Mercury, 7 May 2007
  19. "London Bounces Back To Life", The Flag, issue 106, May 1999
  20. "National Democrats trounce Tories in Southwark", The Flag, issue 105, 1999
  21. Website of Nikki Sinclaire (Archive retrieved 15 June 2015)
  22. Bryn Morgan. "General Election results, 1 May 1997" (PDF). House of Commons Library. p. 6. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  23. Politics resources: UK Members of Parliament, 1997-2001 Archived 2017-06-07 at the Wayback Machine (index to complete general election results) and Excel spreadsheet of results
  24. Results of byelections to the 52nd United Kingdom Parliament,