Yorkshire Party

The Yorkshire Party is a political party in Yorkshire, a region of the United Kingdom. Founded in 2014, it campaigns for the establishment of a devolved Yorkshire Assembly within the UK, with powers over education, environment, transport and housing.[5]

Yorkshire Party
Interim chairDarren Longhorn[1]
LeaderBob Buxton[1]
Deputy leaderTim Norman[1]
FoundedApril 2014 (April 2014)
Headquarters9 Fern Bank
St. Johns Place
WF1 3UL[2]
IdeologyYorkshire regionalism
Social democracy[3]
Political positionCentre to centre-left
European affiliationEuropean Free Alliance[4]
Colours  Sky blue,   white
Local government in Yorkshire
7 / 1,139

It describes itself as a centrist party built on social democratic principles and believes that "changing the way the UK political system works is the best way to address the everyday issues faced by people living in Yorkshire."[6]

The party has parish, town, district and county councillors, stood 21 candidates at the 2017 general election and secured 8.6% of the vote in the 2018 Sheffield City Region mayoral election.

The party nominated 28 candidates for the 2019 general election.[7]


The party was founded (as "Yorkshire First") in 2014 by the businessmen Stewart Arnold and Richard Honnoraty, and the management consultant Richard Carter.[8] Carter was the party's first leader. The party's launch was welcomed by a spokesperson for Mebyon Kernow.[9]

Contesting the 2014 European Parliamentary elections in the Yorkshire and the Humber constituency, the Yorkshire Party received 19,017 votes (1.5%). Arnold, its lead candidate, described this as "a hugely significant result".[10]

In 2015, the party fought its first general election, standing 14 candidates.[11] The party also gained its first town and parish council seats. Internationally, the party was granted observer status in the European Free Alliance grouping[12] and has since become a full member.[4]

In 2016, the party contested 17 candidates across six local authorities, and also fought the Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough by-election. In July, Arnold took over from Carter as leader of the party, with Chris Whitwood becoming deputy leader.[13] The party joined the Make Votes Matter Alliance for Proportional Representation.[14]

In May 2017, the Yorkshire Party stood in Doncaster for the first time, contesting the mayoral election and saving its deposit. In addition, the party stood seven candidates for council elections. In June that year, the party stood 21 candidates[15] in the general election, coming third place in three constituencies. This resulted in the Yorkshire Party becoming the sixth most voted for party in England and one of only three parties to increase its vote share on 2015.[16]

In 2018, the party's Rotherham candidate, Mick Bower, was selected to contest the Sheffield City Region mayoral election.[17] Securing 8.6% of the vote, gaining fourth place of the seven parties standing, the party also came third in three of the four participating council areas, beating the Liberal Democrats and Greens in Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham. The 22,318 votes gained was also the largest ever individual tally gained by the party.

In summer 2018, the party gained its first district and county level councillors when the former mayor of Northallerton and Hambleton District councillor, Claire Palmer,[18] and the senior Conservative councillor on Selby District Council and North Yorkshire County Council, Mike Jordan, defected. Jordan said that he was joining the Yorkshire Party because he believed the government was "not doing Yorkshire the justice it deserves".[19]

In March 2019, Whitwood became party leader and Laura Walker took on the role of deputy.[20] Whitwood expressed his optimism at the positive role the Yorkshire Party could play in the politics of people's everyday lives, describing the period as a golden opportunity where "small parties can make a huge difference and carry a huge amount of influence".[21]

In April 2019, with the fifth anniversary of the party's formation, it fielded a record number of candidates in that year's local elections, more than double the previous record.[22]

The party fielded six candidates in the 2019 European elections.[23] None were elected. They fielded 28 candidates in the 2019 general election: none were elected, but with 29,201 votes, they received the third highest number of votes of any party that did not get an MP elected, after The Brexit Party and the Ulster Unionist Party.

In May 2020, Dr. Bob Buxton, a teacher, was elected to serve a two-year term as leader following the resignation of Whitwood.[24] In June 2020, a Shipley businessman, Darren Longhorn, was appointed interim party chairman.[25]

At the end of August 2020, Councillor George Derx of the Stainforth and Barnby Dun ward in Doncaster defected from the Labour Party and joined the Yorkshire Party. He said that he believed that the party had the "right policies for our region".[26] As a result of this defection, the Yorkshire Party is now represented by eight councillors in local government.

In May 2021, the party leader, Bob Buxton, unsuccessfully contested the 2021 West Yorkshire mayoral elections.


The party advocates regional devolution for Yorkshire in the form of a democratically elected assembly as "the best way to achieve a stronger Yorkshire in a fairer United Kingdom".[27] The party's argument for regional devolution is said to be founded on the principle of subsidiarity[21] – the belief that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralised competent authority.

The party promotes a range of policies covering education, environment, transport and housing, which it describes as being economically centrist and underpinned by social democratic principles.[28]

Electoral performance

In 2014, the party started by fielding candidates for the EU Parliament election in the Yorkshire and the Humber constituency, winning 1.5% of the vote with just over 19,000 votes.

In the 2015 general election the party contested 14 constituencies, winning 6,811 votes and an average vote share of 1.04%.

The party increased its number of candidates in the 2017 snap election to 21, winning 20,958 votes, a huge increase from the previous election. The party also increased its average vote share in seats it contested to 2.1% of the vote. While contesting seats only within Yorkshire the party, received enough votes to become the sixth most popular party in England.[29]

The party won its first principal authority elections at the 2019 local elections, taking seats on Selby District Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

In the 2019 European Parliament election in the Yorkshire and the Humber constituency it received over 50,000 votes (4% of the vote share).[30] It was the only non-parliamentary party to out poll Change UK.[31]

In the 2019 general election, the party further increased its number of candidates to 28 and secured 29,201 votes in total — its best electoral performance in a general election. The party's average vote share remained constant at 2.1%, with a slight increase of 0.07%.[citation needed]

In the 2021 West Yorkshire mayoral elections, it received nearly 60,000 votes (nearly 10% of the vote share) in the first round - third overall, behind Labour and the Conservatives. [32]

Elected representatives

In the 2019 local elections the Yorkshire Party won four seats on Selby District Council[33] and two on East Riding of Yorkshire Council.[34] When taken alongside the two respective seats the party holds on the North Yorkshire County Council[19] and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council[26] due to defections, this leaves the party with eight principal authority councillors in Yorkshire.

The party is also represented on town and parish councils across the region.

See also


  1. Our Leadership Team, Yorkshire Party website. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  2. Registration summary - Yorkshire Party, Electoral Commission. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  3. "Yorkshire Party launches new principles document". Yorkshire Party. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  4. "Member Parties". European Free Alliance. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  5. "Devolution". Yorkshire Party. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  6. "Chris outlines his hopes for Yorkshire". Yorkshire Party. 9 April 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  7. "Party unveils 28 General Election candidates". Yorkshire Post. Yorkshire Party. 14 October 2019. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  8. Beaton, Connor (24 April 2014). "Yorkshire First reveal EU candidates". The Targe. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  9. Collier, Hatty (24 April 2014). "God's Own Party? Yorkshire First to contest the euro elections". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  10. Beaton, Connor (26 May 2014). "EU election 'breathed life into Yorkshire First'". The Targe. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  11. "Yorkshire First's call for devolution". BBC News. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  12. "Yorkshire First joins European Free Alliance". Yorkshire First. Retrieved 24 May 2016. [dead link]
  13. "Stewart Arnold: Our distinctive Yorkshire voice must be heard". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  14. "The Alliance: pro PR groups and public figures". Make Votes Matter. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  15. Arnold, Stewart (31 May 2017). "Watch out, Westminster – the Yorkshire party is taking back control". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  16. "Results of the 2017 General Election". BBC News. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  17. "Sheffield City Region mayoral candidate shortlist revealed". BBC News. 6 April 2018. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  18. "Councillor details - Councillor Claire Palmer". Hambleton District Council. 27 April 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  19. "Senior Tory councillor Mike Jordan joins Yorkshire Party in protest at Government's devolution stance". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  20. "Chris and Laura take reins as Stewart steps down". Yorkshire Party. 26 March 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  21. "Yorkshire Party leader Chris Whitwood: Small parties can still make a huge difference". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  22. "Find your Yorkshire Party candidate". Yorkshire Party. 27 April 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  23. Mike Laycock (24 April 2019). "Yorkshire Party launches EU election campaign". The Press. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  24. "Yorkshire Party Leadership Election Result". Yorkshire Party. 25 May 2020. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  25. "Who's Who". Yorkshire Party. 25 June 2020. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  26. Sutcliffe, Robert (30 August 2020). "High profile councillor defects from Labour to join the Yorkshire Party". YorkshireLive. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  27. "Yorkshire Party launches new principles document". Yorkshire Party. 9 May 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  28. "Yorkshire Party launches new principles document". Yorkshire Party. 9 May 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  29. "Results of the 2017 General Election". BBC News. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  30. "Brexit Party take three of Yorkshire & Humber region's six seats while Tories and Ukip lose out". ITV News. 27 May 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  31. James Dawson (2 June 2019). "YORKSHIRE PARTY DOES BETTER THAN CHANGE UK AT EUROPEAN ELECTIONS IN YORKSHIRE AND HUMBER REGION". Joe. JOE Media. Retrieved 2 November 2019. [unreliable source?]
  32. "Election results 2021: Tracy Brabin elected West Yorkshire mayor". BBC News. 9 May 2021. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  33. "May 2019 Elections". Selby District Council. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  34. "Election results". East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Retrieved 4 May 2019.