Leeds local elections 2023: Meet the independent candidates and fringe parties standing in council elections

This piece is part of a series of interviews with local party leaders and candidates across Leeds ahead of the local elections on May 4.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

There are 175 candidates standing across Leeds’ 33 wards at the local elections on May 4. And while most represent mainstream political parties, or groups with a foothold in the city, there is a smattering of names on the ballot paper you may not have heard before.

In total, there are six independent candidates standing in different parts of Leeds all vying for your vote. One of them is Mark Nicholson, who is campaigning in Cross Gates and Whinmoor. Like most independents, Mr Nicholson believes voters are fed up with the more established parties.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Nicholson, a health and safety consultant and local school governor, is campaigning on a number of local issues, including the impact of the new East Leeds Orbital Road (ELOR).

There are six independent candidates standing in different parts of Leeds in the local electionsThere are six independent candidates standing in different parts of Leeds in the local elections
There are six independent candidates standing in different parts of Leeds in the local elections

“I’ve lived in the ward all my life,” Mr Nicholson, 52, said. “I was born in Swarcliffe and I now live in Cross Gates and I wouldn’t stand anywhere else.

People are getting fed up with the (council’s) promises and the blame game when it goes wrong, as it always seems to be someone’s else fault. People are paying more but not seeing services improve.

We seem to have lost the councillors who were absolute battleaxes and who would grab an issue by the scruff of the neck and get it sorted. We need somebody who’s local, who lives in the area and who understands it.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Also standing on an independent platform is 47 year-old Stuart Long, in Kirkstall. Mr Long has put himself forward to raise awareness about radon gas, which he believes increased the risk of the ovarian cancer that claimed his beloved mum’s life in 2018.

Voters will head to the polls this ThursdayVoters will head to the polls this Thursday
Voters will head to the polls this Thursday

Mr Long says that data from the Health Security Agency suggests 52,000 homes across Leeds are affected by the gas, and has accused the city council of failing to address the problem.

“I felt it was time to make the public aware, because it’s so important,” Mr Long, who has stood for council on four previous occasions, said. “I believe if people’s health is being affected by something you should tell them the truth. I’m a Kirkstall lad. I’ve lived here for more than 40 years and I love the place.”

The city council said it’s currently testing for radon gas in some of the properties it owns and is making contact with residents whose homes have been identified as potentially having higher levels of the gas.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It insisted, however, that “there is no suggestion that tenants are at risk” and that “the properties are safe to continue living in throughout the test period”.

Other independent candidates standing across Leeds include Jim Muller in Armley, Bev Lockwood in Farnley and Wortley, Tyler Wilson-Kerr in Garforth and Swillington and Anthony Greaux in Headingley and Hyde Park. Also standing in Headingley and Hyde Park on a relatively crowded ballot paper is the Northern Independence Party.

Set up in 2020, the party is calling for seismic change to end the inequality between the north and south.

Party member Molly Tindle said: “We feel it doesn’t really matter whether you send the red team, the blue team, the yellow team or the green team down to Westminster, because they’ll all let you down.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If we have more of the same we’ll keep getting the short end of the stick. It’s not a question of there not being enough money, it’s where you choose to spend it. People aren’t daft and they don’t react well to being taken for a ride by the local branches of the Westminster parties.”

Meanwhile, Reform UK, formerly known as The Brexit Party, is competing for votes in three Leeds wards. The party, led nationally by Richard Tice, has 17 councillors across the country, though none in Leeds.

The Alliance for Green Socialism, which is calling for more urgent action to tackle climate change and is standing on an anti-capitalist platform, is on the ballot paper in Chapel Allerton only.

Related topics: