The latest news from the Independent Group


Launch of the UK Local Government Programme on Civility in Public Life
December 2019

The LGA, along with the other local government associations around the UK, recently launched a national programme on civility in public life. 

Speaking at the event, Councillor Marianne Overton MBE said:

‘Through the launch of the LGA’s toolkit to encourage women, parents and carers into local politics early in 2019, it became clear that one of the significant barriers for many people, particularly women, was the expected high level of negative comments, intimidation, threats and abuse; made especially easy and direct with the rise of social media.

‘We heard about how the abuse levelled at councillors affected their parents, brothers, sisters, children and family members. We heard about fears for their children’s safety and wellbeing. We heard stories of councillors having to move house, having police protection, panic alarms installed, cars and homes attacked, personal threats, death threats and attacks. We heard a frustration that more could not be done to protect councillors and stop the perpetrators. We lamented the impact on our democracy.

‘This is why, at the recent UK Forum, I presented a proposal for a UK-wise response and am very grateful and heartened that local government across our four countries is now working together on this programme, which we have called Civility in Public Life, with a public-facing campaign called #DebatenotHate.’

You can find out more about this work on the LGA’s website:

General Election 2019

Following the General election, Cllr Marianne Overton MBE, Leader of the LGA Independent Group said:

‘Last night over 1200 Independent and smaller party candidates stood for election. I want to congratulate their efforts and the incredibly hard work that goes into running a campaign without a big party machine behind you.

The message on the doorsteps was one of strong support for local candidates, but in the final days, it seems we were overwhelmed by a drive to settle Brexit and avoid Mr Corbyn.  Against this tide, the number of votes cast and the gains made in areas like East Devon and Ashfield demonstrate what can be done. 

To break the two party dominance currently facing England and Wales, we need to make our electoral system fully representative of the votes cast.

Electoral reform isn’t a peripheral issue, it’s central to our democracy. We must ensure every vote matters.’