Doubts grow over validity of new party
THE future of what was proclaimed to be Britain’s newest political party appeared to be in serious doubt last night, with its plans to contest the Scottish parliamentary elections in May in disarray.
Robert Durward, a Lanarkshire businessman, and public relations executive Mark Adams, the men behind the so-called New Party, had indicated that they wanted to field candidates at the Holyrood poll.
Though there were few details, the party was said to have several high profile business figures bankrolling its cause, but no-one has so far identified themselves with the venture.
Barely three months from polling day on 1 May, the New Party has yet to announce any candidates, and it is operating out of the offices of Mr Adams’ PR firm in London. The party has been labelled "fascist and undemocratic" by David McLetchie, the leader of the Scottish Tories.
In the past, Mr Durward has attacked environmentalists and suggested the Army be sent in to shake up public services. Two years ago, Mr Durward, a Lanarkshire quarry owner, enlisted the help of Mr Adams, a former private secretary to both Tony Blair and John Major, to launch the Scientific Alliance and highlight his campaign against the imposition of an aggregate tax on the extraction of raw materials.
Friends of the Earth, which clashed a number of times with the Alliance, questioned the motives behind the promised launch of the New Party, pencilled in for next month in Edinburgh. Ian Wilmore, for the group, had doubts whether the party existed as anything other than a publicity campaign. He said: "The aggregate tax was the thing that started it off and then he [Mr Durward] widened his attack to involve everything he could think of."
Members of another organisation set up by Mr Durward, the British Aggregates Association, are also unhappy about the political leanings of their director and many are said to not want to be associated with Mr Durward’s views.
Despite repeated attempts to contact him, Mr Durward was unavailable for comment.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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