Page last updated at 19:04 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 20:04 UK

Profile: English Democrats

Robin Tilbrook
Chairman Robin Tilbrook is a former Conservative

The English Democrats, who are expected to field around 120 candidates at the general election, are hoping to build on recent poll successes.

The party, which does not have any MPs, doubled its share of the vote at last year's European elections - polling just under 280,000.

And Peter Davies pulled off a surprise victory for the party when he was elected Mayor of Doncaster last June.

The English Democrats also got a boost in October when two Conservative members of Peterborough Council defected to them.

However, their best-known supporter is former Sun newspaper columnist Garry Bushell, who stood for the party in the 2005 general election in Greenwich and Woolwich.

The party suffered a setback in 2008 when its candidate for Mayor of London, Fathers4Justice founder Matt O'Connor, withdrew from the race, saying he had fallen out with the leadership over campaign funding and tactics.

At the forthcoming election, the party will campaign on a manifesto of withdrawing from the European Union and setting up an English parliament.

It argues that the devolution of powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has resulted in a "democratic imbalance" in the UK and that an English Parliament and First Minister - with powers equivalent to those north of the border - are needed to offset this.

It wants an end to all UK government subsidies for Scotland and Wales and the abolition of English regional assemblies.

The party was founded in 2002 by ex-members of the Campaign for an English Parliament pressure group.

Describing the party as "unashamedly English nationalist", its founder and chairman Robin Tilbrook has called for an end to "large scale" immigration and for illegal immigrants to be deported.

The party believes organisations that promote or encourage multiculturalism should not receive state funding but that celebrations marking St George's Day should get more financial backing and the day itself should be a national holiday.

It vehemently denies that it is racist or has any links to the far-right, and says that it is welcome to all races and religions who wish to share the "English way of life and the values and beliefs of England".

Earlier this year, the English Democrats announced they were entering an alliance with a number of other parties - under the banner of the Alliance for Democracy - to fight against corruption in Westminster.

This means the party will not field candidates against representatives of other parties including the Jury Team and the Christian Party.

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