Reform UK will be standing candidates in every parliamentary seat in mainland UK at the next general election. This is what we need to do to give the electorate a real chance of changing politics for good.

We are also taking steps locally. As a young party, we are not yet present in every ward, but where we do appear on the ballot paper – for example, we are standing in the Birkdale ward in Southport at the 4 May 2023 local election – we would like you to know what we stand for.

First, our local candidates are all “whip free”. This means that we are not bound, in local matters, to act according to central party directives. It means our local people can make decisions quickly based on matters as they exist on the ground. For example, Southport residents have expressed dissatisfaction with Sefton Council’s failure to preserve and protect our local heritage assets, including Lord Street, the pier, and the Floral Hall. Our local Reform UK branch can immediately take up these issues, without further ado, if we are elected in May.

Second, we believe in reducing council tax, and making sure that local councils (in our case, of course, Sefton Council) obtain value for every penny of taxpayers’ money that is spent. Local councils, like central government, should not use taxpayers’ money to engage in virtue signalling or moral posturing: if they wish to do that, they can do so with their own personal monies, and not public funds. They should ensure that their conduct is transparent and accountable. They should ensure their staff work normal hours and provide efficient and courteous service. And they should ensure that their handling of financial matters remains beyond reproach and without the slightest conflict of interest.

Third, we also believe in saving the high street. Business rates should be as low as possible and access to town centres made easy, cheap, and convenient.

Fourth, we stand in favour of preserving our local heritage, local environment, and sites of natural beauty. Our town should remain free from pollution and well-looked after. We do, however, resolutely oppose environmental fads such as “5-minute cities” (also known as “LTNs”), which seek to prevent residents from moving freely in their own communities.

Fifth, we believe that teachers and other public servants should be politically and ideologically impartial. There should be no teaching of divisive ideologies such as “critical race theory” or gender identity theories to children who are not yet mature enough to make up their own minds on such topics.

Sixth, GPs need to see patients promptly, making appropriate provision for out-of-hours services, and Southport should have a full range of hospital services within the town itself.

Seventh, we expect the police to focus their resources on the prevention and prosecution of real crime.

Finally, as a Southport-specific issue, we have taken the view that it is time to push for a consultation and (if we can get one) referendum on whether Southport should remain part of Sefton. We will cooperate locally with any other party that shares this view.

We’ve already had people say that they wished we were standing in more wards locally. We are just beginning so please bear with us. We are growing in numbers and support rapidly. In the meantime, if you are in Birkdale, please do get out and vote on Thursday 4 May 2023. You may not agree with every single policy of ours, but we hope you agree with most.

Governments, whether central or local, are established by our consent in order to serve our needs – not to be our overlords, taking money from us and providing little in return. We need together to send a message to the establishment as to what we expect of them in public office, and what we will, and will not, tolerate.

Find out more about our Birkdale ward candidate at the Sefton 2023 local elections here. Follow our local Facebook here and our local Twitter feed here.