Calls for voters to directly influence council policy made by Democrats and Veterans Party

Should voters be able to influence individual council votes?
Should voters be able to influence individual council votes?

Local people would be able to instruct their councillor how to vote on key issues, under plans being coined by one fringe party standing in next month’s elections.

The Democrats and Veterans Party, which is fielding one candidate in Wakefield on May 2, says the idea would give power to voters and boost faith in the democratic system.

Democrats and Veterans Party candidate John Thomas

Democrats and Veterans Party candidate John Thomas

The group also wants more support to be given to people coming out of the armed forces and has called for local councils to be relieved of the pressure of funding adult social care.

Explaining the ideas in a pitch to voters, party spokesman John Thomas, said: “We want direct democracy instead of the indirect democracy we have at the moment.

“We would give people access to a portal where they would be able to instruct their Democrats and Veterans Party councillor what they want to happen. Those decisions would then be put into practice.

“The party constitution states that each member must vote the way they’ve been instructed by the electorate.

“That way in a vote you could have two councillors voting in opposing directions."

Mr Thomas said that the policy could cut through the "apathy" many feel towards politics and elected representatives.

He added: "I think it would improve people's perceptions of democracy.

"Giving people that direct link would make them feel involved and ensure their wishes are carried out."

The national Democrats and Veterans Party has released its own local election manifesto, and has also entered into an electoral pact with Nigel Farage's new Brexit Party, meaning they will not stand against each other in the same ward anywhere in the country.

Mr Thomas conceded that while it would be difficult to influence government decisions at a local level, the party would strive to make its voice heard.

He said: "More money needs to spent on training for veterans, so they can upskill and enter different careers.

"Councils are finding it very difficult to fund social care because so much money has been cut. We're calling for a change of approach and for it be placed back in the government's control."

This article is part of a series of profile pieces about the political parties and independent candidates standing in the local elections in Wakefield. Each profile will appear on our websites in the run-up to polling day.

The Democrats and Veterans Party is fielding one candidate

John Thomas - Altofts and Whitwood

Local Democracy Reporting Service