Wiltshire's new political party: 'Together We Can Reform' - or 'Reform' for short
Together We Can Reform was registered with the Electoral Commission in September last year - and is officially launched this month as Wiltshire's newest political party. It will be known, for brevity and simplicity, as Reform.
The party has been founded by a group of five people - its nominated 'Leader' (as required by the Electoral Commission) is Sue Richardson who is a logistics engineer living in Salisbury. The Party's treasurer is Colin Skelton a research scientist who also lives in Salisbury.
Their aim is to "promote justice, fairness and equality." And the first way they want to achieve this is to have Reform candidates challenging all 98 Wiltshire Council seats in the next unitary elections in May 2017.
Announcing their launch they say: "We don't rate the current set of councillors, they perform poorly, mismanage our services, and indeed provide very low levels of service, people suffer as a result. And yet, they are greedy, awarding themselves a massive 22 per cent pay rise in 2014."
"Their record is shockingly bad, they need to be challenged. Reform has a year to recruit, train and stand 98 ordinary (perhaps extraordinary) people in the 2017 local elections and to develop a local manifesto that will enhance people's lives and make our communities stronger."
In July they will publish 'a local manifesto for change'. They already have their first policy: "Our first policy is the most urgent."
They are highly critical of Wiltshire Council's record on child protection. They would halve councillors' allowances and cap council officer's pay at £100,0000. "The resulting saving of £1.5 million will be ploughed into child protection services to make them the best in the country. Protecting children in Wiltshire, protecting their future."
Reform are standing as a progressive party. They told Marlborough News Online, they are not just a group of independent candidates: "We are not left or right - some of our policies will be left wing and some will be considered right wing. Our policies will be evidence based rather than ideological."
Colin Skelton has stood for election before - as an independent candidate for the first Police and Crime Commissioner elections. He had the support of Martin Bell, the former independent MP, and came in third with a respectable 14.5 per cent of the vote.
"Reform", says Colin Skelton, "is an actual political party - and we want as many members as possible."