Party History

The History of the English Democrats by Robin Tilbrook
In 1998 the Labour Government gave national devolution to Scotland and Wales. In 1999 Robin Tilbrook and James Alden registered the “English National Party” with the aim of trying to create a cutting edge to supplement the good work of the Campaign for an English Parliament, a pressure group that lobbies for a devolved English Parliament.
There followed many meetings of a Steering Committee with as many English Nationalists as possible to agree a common Manifesto. The party was formally launched as the “English Democrats Party” in September 2002 at Imperial College, London, after merging with several other small political parties.
The party was re-launched as the English Democrats Party in September 2002 at Imperial College, London, after merging with several other smaller political parties. Founder members included Robin Tilbrook, Robert Sulley with Christine Constable joining shortly after the official launch.



  • The first person to stand for the English Democrats was Gary Cowd, who stood in Rushmoor-West Heath Ward in North Hampshire in a Council by-election in May 2003. Cowd was an active member of the English Democrats and a National Council member.
  • Ed Abrams joined the English Democrats in May 2003
  • Steve Uncles joined the English Democrats in June 2003.
  • In 2003 English Democrats also co-founded the English Constitutional Convention with the Campaign for an English Parliament


  • The English Democrats’ first national election campaign was the 2004 EU Election.
  • The English Democrats stood candidates in five of the nine Regions of England. Our 2004 election canvassing leaflet featured the slogan, “Not Left, Not Right, Just English!”. Our candidates won 130,056 votes in total. The “campaign” consisted of the distribution of 14 Million A5 Leaflets.
  • A month later, the party stood at the 2004 Birmingham Hodge Hill Parliamentary by-election. The English Democrats candidate received 277 votes, or 1.4% of the votes cast.
  • On 30 September a by-election was held at Hartlepool. The English Democrats candidate polled 41 votes or 0.1% of votes cast.
  • In October 2004, the English Democrats merged with the Reform UK Party, which Peter Davies was a member of. This was a small splinter group from UKIP.


  • The Area and County structures of the English Democrats party began to be implemented.
  • The Area and County structures to the English Democrats party began to be implemented in 2005.
  • The party’s slogan for the 2005 general election was “English Democrats—Putting England First!” In total, the English Democrats fielded 25 candidates for the May 2005 general election, including Staffordshire South where the election was delayed until June due to the death of a candidate. The party withdrew their candidate in North Norfolk and endorsed the Conservative Party candidate, Iain Dale, because he had “taken the issues of English discrimination seriously”.
  • Garry Bushell the former Sun journalist and currently the Daily Star Sunday TV critic, became the most high profile candidate for the English Democrats, standing in the Greenwich and Woolwich constituency in London. Bushell’s 1,216 votes (a 3.4% share for that constituency), represented the English Democrats party’s best showing for the election; though this was still a 5th place performance.
  • In June 2005, Gary Bushell also stood in Staffordshire South, where he received 643 votes (2.5%) coming fifth out of eight candidates.
  • Crowborough Town Council by-election
  • In November 2005 our party achieved its first electoral success when Paul Adams was elected to Crowborough Town Council, polling 120 votes, or 56.8% of the poll.


  • A handful of English Democrats stood in Local Elections, and the English Democrats put in place a 5 Year Election Strategy, running until 2011.
  • The New England Party (Dartford, Kent based Party started by Mike Tibby), merged with the English Democrats in February 2007.
  • Steve Garrett designed the English Democrats Logo.
  • David Lane joined the English Democrats in 2006.
  • Derek Hilling joined the English Democrats in 2006.


  • In the 2007 local elections, seventy-eight candidates stood for election in boroughs and districts across fifteen English counties, including twenty in Dartford and ten in Portsmouth
  • Welsh Assembly elections
  • In line with the English Democrats stance on the status of Monmouthshire, thirteen English Democrat candidates contested the Welsh Assembly elections in the South East Wales region, and the constituencies of Monmouth (fifth with 2.7%), Newport East (sixth 2.2%) and Newport West (fifth 2.7%).


  • London mayoral election
  • First English Democrats “Bill Boards” go up
  • First English Democrats Party Election Broadcast
  • In July 2007 Garry Bushell was nominated as Mayoral candidate for the English Democrats for the 2008 London mayoral and Assembly elections with the campaign slogan “Serious About London”. In January 2008 Bushell stepped down as the Mayoral candidate due to work commitments and Fathers 4 Justice founder Matt O’Connor was selected by the English Democrats in his place with his campaign expected to start on 14 February. His campaign web site was launched on 31 January 2008. A Party Political Broadcast for O’Connor’s campaign was broadcast on 11 April.
  • One week before the Mayoral election, on 25 April, Matt O’Connor announced to Vanessa Feltz and the BBC that he was dropping out of the Mayoral race. He cited his reasons as being due to a lack of support within the English Democrats on St George’s Day as well as lack of press coverage. The English Democrats released a press statement on their website in response to his resignation voicing disappointment at his decision to quit the contest and explaining the true reason. O’Connor received 10,695 first preference votes (representing 0.44% of the votes cast) in the mayoral contest, ranking ninth out of ten candidates, he received 73,538 second preference votes 3.67%, ranking eighth.
  • 2008 English local elections
  • Our party fielded candidates in 12 district council elections. Our Party’s best results were when it came second to the Conservatives in the Finningley ward of Doncaster and in three wards in Rochford.
  • 2008 Haltemprice and Howden by-election
  • The English Democrats fielded a candidate, Joanne Robinson, in the by-election caused by the resignation of former shadow home secretary David Davis from the House of Commons. Joanne Robinson came third, with 1,714 votes (7.2%), 44 votes fewer than the Green candidate received in second place. Of the 26 candidates she was one of only three to keep her deposit.


  • Elaine Cheeseman joined the English Democrats in 2009
  • 2009 English local elections
  • The English Democrats fielded 84 county council and local authority candidates with particular focus in Bristol, Essex, Hampshire, Kent, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Wiltshire, and Lancashire.
  • 2009 Mayoral Election Success
  • The party had a great success when Peter Davies, our candidate for Mayor of Doncaster, was elected. Having received 16,961 votes in the first round, 189 votes behind the independent, Michael Maye, Peter Davies was returned in the second count on transfers of second preference votes, with a total of 25,344 votes.
  • By winning in Doncaster the English Democrats, had secured the second biggest Mayoralty in England and control of the largest Metropolitan Borough Council in England. Doncaster MBC is also host to three Labour controlled parliamentary constituencies: Don Valley – Caroline Flint MP; Doncaster Central – Rosie Winterton MP; Doncaster North – Ed Milliband MP.
  • 2009 European Parliament election
  • The English Democrats contested the elections to the European Parliament held in June 2009. We fielded a full slate of candidates across the nine English European parliament constituencies. On 18 May 2009 the English Democrats broadcast their first national Party Election Broadcast. They came seventh in the election in England (ninth in the UK as a whole) with 279,801 votes. The English Democrats were the highest polling party across the UK not to have an MEP elected


  • The English Democrats fielded 107 Candidates in the 2010 General Election. Our Party Election Broadcast was broadcast on St George’s Day! The English Democrats have again shown in this General Election that we are currently England’s 7th largest party. With 107 candidates (more than the SNP and Plaid Cymru put together), we got 64,826 votes. Our percentage in this election over the whole of England’s 533 seats, would have worked out at an equivalent 324,064 nationwide (in a true PR system this would have given us 7 seats).


  • Police Commissioner Elections
    Police force Candidate 1st round votes  % Posn/no. cands
    Cambridgeshire Constabulary Stephen Goldspink 7,219 8.1% 6 out of 7
    Essex Police Robin Tilbrook 11,550 6.87% 6 out of 6
    Kent Police Steven Uncles 10,789 5.3% 5 out of 6
    Merseyside Police Paul Rimmer 7,142 5.7% 6 out of 6
    South Yorkshire Police David Allen 22,608 15.6% 2 out of 5
  • A petition of 10,500 Salford residents, started by the English Democrats, on a referendum on the creation of a directly elected mayor. triggered the process of establishing a directly elected Mayor for Salford. The poll was held on 26 January 2012.
    Mayor of Salford referendum
    26 January 2012
    Choice Votes  %
    Referendum passed Elected Mayor 17,344 55.92
    Cabinet System 13,653 44.08
    Valid votes 30,997 99.70
    Invalid or blank votes 94 0.30
    Total votes 31,091 100.00
    Registered voters and turnout 171,790 18.09

    The English Democrats had campaigned for an elected Mayor for Salford City Council, having gathered enough signatures from the electorate to trigger a referendum, which was won, they then contested the Mayoral Election with the 2010 Manchester Pride Queen , Michael Felse, standing for the English Democrats, although coming 8th out of 10 the English Democrats beat the well established Green Party


  • The English Democrats began our 2014 EU election campaign in September 2013 with an extensive social media campaign. On 30 April 2014, we held a rally at Fobbing in Essex, the site of the 1381 Peasants’ Revolt, and declared, “let the English revolt begin.” We fielded a full slate of candidates across the nine English European parliament constituencies on 22 May 2014. On 13 February 2014, party chairman Robin Tilbrook appeared on the BBC Daily Politics with Nicola Sturgeon, the deputy leader of the Scottish National Party.
  • South Yorkshire Police Commissioner Election October 2014.
    Police force Candidate 1st round votes  % Posn/no. cands
    South Yorkshire Police David Allen 8,583 5.8% 4 out of 4


  • The English Democrats stood candidates in a number of parliamentary constituencies 


  • EU Referendum: The English Democrats have long campaigned for England and the UK to leave the European political system, we therefore welcomed the overwheming view of the people of England and Wales to leave the European political system.
  • Batley and Spen By-Election: After the murder of Jo Cox MP prior to the EU Referendum the Conservative, UKIP and Green Parties decided not to contest the by-election. The English Democrats believe that violence should never undermine the democratic process of our nation, also with the newly selected Labour candidate never having received any votes, it was only right that the people of Batley and Spen should have a choice on election day. The English Democrats came 2nd in a field of 9 candidates