Independent Group Leader's Bulletin 22 February 2019

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local government association - independent group

Group Leader's Bulletin

22 February 2019


Dear colleagues,

We have long called for our elected representatives to be free of national party control in order to properly listen, think, speak and vote for the best outcomes for the people we represent. We have worked extremely well with Green, Plaid Cymru and Independent members of both Houses of Parliament. We have found consensus by focusing on the facts in front of us and working to get the best for our councils and our residents.

Eleven MPs so far have released themselves from the party whip and agreed to work together as Independents. We shall see.

The LGA Independent Group has put a note on the website to clarify that we are not to be confused with the new parliamentary group. The Electoral Commission has the job of consulting and avoiding confusion for the public and we will have the opportunity to comment on any registration, if they try to retain The Independent Group as party name. A number of our members have raised concerns which need to be properly addressed.

Members of the LGA Independent Group have long prided ourselves in not taking a whip. We focus on the best outcomes for our residents and our planet, not on any national party wrangling. "People before politics" appears on many of our leaflets. Integrity of conduct and genuine determination to put local people first is outlined in the "Bell Principles", the bedrock of the Independent Network. 

The Green Party and Plaid Cymru have party support. A good number of our Independent members have created their own Independent alliances, associations, groups and registered parties in order to create a separate identity, a mark of quality. At the same time, it levels the playing field, getting better access, mutual support, a strength in numbers, practical access to electoral registers and press recognition. Importantly, all the time maintaining the right to speak and vote independently.

We need to continue to hold to these principles. We are used to working cross party, focusing on the evidence and the best interests of our residents. If there are a number of effective MPs who want to represent some key issues for us in Parliament, it could be helpful. They could start by speaking on the value of having Independent elected representatives in the forthcoming local elections.

Let's hold to our principles and keep communicating with our residents about the value of what we do for them. They will want to know, now and at election time. 

Action for Independent Members

With the local elections at the forefront of many of our minds, if you are concerned about The Independent Group causing confusion for your electorate, I recommend that you write to your local newspaper and use your networks to explain what you’ve been doing locally and what your USP is. We have a template press release on our website that may help.

On Twitter, Independent Members are using #IndependentCouncillor to share why we stood as Independents. Do join in.

Dates for your diary

The below are open to all members of the LGA Independent Group and prospective councillors that fall within our membership:

  • 1 March – LGA Independent Group Regional Meeting in Lincoln, 11am – 3pm
  • 8 March – LGA Independent Group Regional Meeting in Camborne, Cornwall, 10am – 2pm
  • 15 March – LGA Independent Group Information and Development Seminar on the Spring Statement, 11am – 1pm
  • 18 March – LGA Independent Group Regional Meeting in Bury St Edmunds, 11am – 3pm
  • 19 March – LGA Independent Group Regional Meeting in Brighton, 12pm – 3pm
  • 5 April – LGA Independent Group Regional Meeting in Denbighshire, 12pm – 4pm  

RSVP to any of the above by emailing

Wishing you all the very best of luck. Please get in touch if we can help at all.

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE signature
Councillor Marianne Overton MBE

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE
Leader of the Independent Group
Vice Chair of the Local Government Association