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Martin Bell: Independent MPs 'force for good'

24 April 10 10:52 GMT

Former Tatton MP Martin Bell has said that independent MPs elected to Parliament could be a "force for good and honest politics".

He told the BBC that it was a "very good time" to be standing as an independent candidate, but that it was not an easy job.

"You've got to run fairly fast to stand still," he said.

Bell took the safe Conservative seat of Tatton from Neil Hamilton in the 1997 general election.

The former BBC foreign correspondent said that prospective independent MPs needed to match political parties with staffing and funding if they were going to succeed.

But he said he thought that some of them could do it.

'Wider unease'

"I'm hopeful of getting maybe half-a-dozen elected independent MPs, as a force for good and honest politics in the House of Commons," he said.

Bell, who stood for election in protest against the corruption allegations surrounding Neil Hamilton, said he thought that today's hopefuls were similarly motivated by anger over the expenses scandal.

"Some of it is targeting individual MPs who should have been deselected by their parties and have not been.

"But here is a wider unease about our politics right across the country I think.

"There's this great gap between politics and the people, the government and the governed," he said.

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