Yorkshire First, a regionalist political party which advocates for the creation of a devolved Yorkshire Parliament, has announced a list of three candidates for the European Parliament elections on 22 May.
The party, which was founded six weeks ago by business adviser Richard Carter, is fielding Stewart Arnold as its top candidate, with Carter in second and finance worker Richard Honnoraty in third. They are standing in the Yorkshire and the Humber region, which elects six MEPs.
The party claims that Yorkshire has “a larger population than Scotland and an economy twice the size of Wales”, and “fantastic potential waiting to be unleashed” through devolution to the region.
As nomination papers were submitted, Carter commented: “Yorkshire First wants the region to decide more of its own affairs. It wants the powers to address the huge economic, social and environmental concerns in Yorkshire.”
Explaining the decision to launch a political party, he said: “Yorkshire will only be taken seriously by the national parties when they are under some form of threat. Fine words are no longer enough from them.”
Top candidate Stewart Arnold is a former Lib Dem councillor and parliamentary candidate who has campaigned for Yorkshire devolution since 2002, when regional devolution was high on the English political agenda. He chaired the pro-devolution Campaign for Yorkshire between 2002-03.
Carter spoke of the candidates: “Yorkshire First may not have the money of the national parties but we have the pride, energy and commitment to our region and are delighted to be putting three candidates forward, just six weeks after our launch.
“All our candidates have a passion for the region and believe that Yorkshire would be served better by government closer to the people via an assembly or parliament for the Yorkshire & Humber region.”
If a candidate is elected, the party would endeavour to join the Greens-EFA group in the European Parliament, which includes the SNP and Plaid Cymru.