Three more aspiring MPs and councillors have signed up to the County Times’ Free Speech Charter.
Peter Grace, UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for Arundel and South Downs, and two candidates hoping to be elected to Horsham District Council next month Roger Smith, an independent in Southwater, and Maggie Weir-Wilson, standing for the Green Party in the Trafalgar ward, have added their names as Charter signatories joining those across the political spectrum who have already done so.
The Charter was launched in March last year to promote openness and transparency in local Government after Conservative Christian Mitchell was effectively sacked as Horsham District Council’s chairman-elect by his own party.
The Charter states: “I undertake to speak, write and vote on behalf of my constituents without fear or favour of party discipline.
“If I am a member of a political party, I will respect its values and honour its pre-election manifesto pledges - but I will always put first the people I am elected to serve.”
Mr Grace said: “The whole reason I’m standing is because I do not think there’s enough transparency. I do not think our elected representatives represent us at the moment and I would actually represent my constituents.”
Ms Weir-Wilson added: “I’m particularly concerned with the environment. I’m a member of Transition Horsham and we have a community allotment so I’m very environmentally conscious and the Greens seem to be the only party that takes that seriously. I think as far as locally goes I would like to put something back into my area where I live.”
Dr Smith said: “Southwater is a prime target for developers and this election is a pivotal moment for its community. I am standing as an independent candidate for election as a district councillor for Southwater so that I can speak for and serve the community free from the constraints and pressures of party politics – which has been so damaging to Southwater – and our district.”
He added: “Elected representatives should always put first the people that they are elected and privileged to serve – and they should be accountable to the electorate for their actions. Manifesto pledges made by candidates and political parties really do matter and should be adhered to and pursued, not put to one side and ignored after the election - to do that would be an appalling betrayal of trust.”