'I was upset by what I was seeing': Army veteran launches new political party for Northamptonshire
A retired army veteran inspired to get into politics after suffering a fit five years ago is hoping his party can take a dozen seats at the next Northampton Borough Council election.
Obelisk man Tom Appleyard officially launched Northamptonshire Independents on Sunday in a bid to stand 12 candidates at the 2019 borough elections.
The serviceman of 25 years took the step to set up his own party for those in the town "fed up of big party politics".
But Mr Appleyard, 66, narrowly pipped to a seat at the 2017 county council elections as a candidate for UKIP, says he will only accept candidates who live in the ward they are running for.
He said: "Many people I have spoken with are fed up of big party politics, they want local people to represent them more effectively in local democratic affairs, there are so many issuesimpacting on normal daily lives such as crime, local road networks, air pollution to name just a few.
"Instead of looking at these seriously we are seeing national and even international agendas such as Brexit taking centre stage.
"How can we really expect effective local governance from what is essentially a political party appointee?"
Mr Appleyard says his party will support sensible planning applications, support policies to tackle littering and will campaign to resolve the traffic congestion in the Kingsthorpe area of Northampton.
Northamptonshire Independents, however, will only be an umbrella name for candidates to register. He intends to fight for the Obelisk ward, for example, under the name ObeliskFirst and wants to encourage its members to take up similar titles.The candidates will also be free from a party whip.
Mr Appleyard, 66, who went on to become a logistics manager in his later career, claims he was inspired to start a political party after suffering an epileptic fit in 2013.
The fit left him unable to drive.
"It meant I had to walk around Northampton a lot," he said. "You start to notice things when you do that.
"I was, frankly, upset with what I was seeing."
Mr Appleyard wants anyone interested in joining to email [email protected], or follow him on facebook via the Northamptonshire Independents page.
You can also contact him via Twitter at @n_hamps_ind