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Can Independents crash the Westminster party?

Richard Moss | 15:15 UK time, Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Houses of ParliamentAt the height of the expenses row there were plenty of people talking about the need to have fully Independent MPs with no party affiliation.

But several months on from the peak of the expenses anger, are any of them actually likely to make it into parliament?

There are certainly more Independent candidates standing in this election - more than at any time since 1885.

There's 315 in total nationally - more than double the amount that stood five years ago. And in the North East and Cumbria there are 17 Independents competing for seats.

Many I suspect are struggling to make a huge impact.

They don't have the electoral machine or resources of the main political parties, they get no party political broadcasts, and little guaranteed time on television or radio.

But there is now a network which includes some of the Independent candidates and provides some framework for them.

Three of the local candidates are part of it. Dr Steven Ford in Hexham, Yvonne Hossack in Stockton South and Siamak Kaikavoosi in South Shields.

And certainly Dr Ford and Ms Hossack do seem to have had some impact.

Steven Ford is clearly doing something right as he was among four of the Hexham candidates asked to nominate a film to show at the local cinema - his choice Dr Strangelove!

(Guy Opperman, the Conservative, chose The Shawshank Redemption, Antoine Tinnion for Labour selected The Third Man and Lib Dem Andrew Duffield picked The End of Poverty).

The former GP also has a full manifesto I hasten to add as well as a taste for apocalyptic movies.

The talk on the ground in Stockton South is that solicitor Yvonne Hossack has also been gathering some support.

She may end up being a significant presence. Not perhaps by winning, but by taking some valuable votes in a marginal constituency.

But come May 7, it will be remarkable if Parliament isn't still overwhelmingly dominated by the three main parties.


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