ACTIVISTS from around the country have come together to launch a new left-wing political party which aims to give a voice to those who feel unrepresented by the main Westminster parties. The Social Justice Party held its inaugural conference at The Coliseum in Whitby on July 22, attended by members of the two founding branches of Scarborough and Whitby and Redcar and Cleveland. Others attended on-line from across the country, from Bristol and Brighton to Liverpool, Lancaster, Weston- Super-Mare and Cheltenham.

The newly-elected party chair, Simon Chester, said the primary aim of the conference was to endorse the party’s aims and objectives and ratify the constitution. He said: “We couldn’t be happier with the success of the conference and our official launch, which has been about twelve months in the making. We’ve also elected our inaugural NCC (National Co-ordinating Committee) and look set to expand our branches throughout the country. “We are a socialist party founded on the principle of public ownership and one that places people and the environment at the forefront of our activities.”

One measure of the fledgling party’s success is that in May this year, SJP member and popular Eastfield district councillor Tony Randerson was re-elected to North Yorkshire Council in a by election following his resignation from the Labour Party. Party secretary Asa Jones, who is a Whitby town councillor, said although most members are disaffected former members of the Labour Party, including several former office-holders, not all members have previously been directly involved in politics.

Mr Jones said: “We are a democratic organisation determined to be led from the membership up, not the other way around, and we are committed to the idea of running candidates wherever we can. Disillusion with politics leads to an erosion of democracy. “We feel it is essential that people have genuine choices at the ballot box, which unfortunately is
becoming less and less the case. Labour and the Conservatives seem intent on offering only more of the
same pessimism when clearly people need hope and optimism.”