Vectis National Party

The Vectis National Party was a minor political party operating on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s. Formed in 1967,[1] the party sought Crown dependency status for the Isle of Wight, on a similar model to certain other islands including the Isle of Man. They were motivated by a belief that the sale of the Isle of Wight to the English crown in 1293 was unconstitutional.[2][3]

The party contested the Isle of Wight constituency in the 1970 general election when candidate R. W. J. Cawdell, a councillor for Ryde,[4] polled 1,607 votes (2.8% of the Wight vote).[1] The party led it to undertake symbolic direct action, such as an intra-island postal service during the 1971 postal strike.[1][5] That year it narrowly lost a local government election.[3] It also led campaigns for the establishment of an Isle of Wight specific radio service and for a regional television service.[3] The party's failure to convince the electorate to break from the traditional parties however led to disillusionment amongst members and by the mid 1970s the party had been wound up.[3]

In 2006, Ray Stokes attempted to revive the VNP, emphasizing two aspects: an economically opportunistic deployment of islandness and a conservative, nostalgic impulse. The party was opposed to housing development that would lead to increased migration to the island, and to a fixed link to the island of Great Britain.[6] The revived party did not contest any election.


  1. ^ a b c Adam Grydehøj and Philip Hayward, "Autonomy Initiatives and Quintessential Englishness on the Isle of Wight", Island Studies Journal, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2011, p.185
  2. ^ Archived August 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c d David Boothroyd, The History of British Political Parties, Politico's, 2001, p. 333
  4. ^ The Isle of Wight Festivals, 1968-70
  5. ^ Brasher, S. (2011) 'The Returning Officer: Regionalists', New Statesman, 14 February
  6. ^ Adam Grydehøj and Philip Hayward, op. cit., p.186
1970 United Kingdom general election

The 1970 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 18 June 1970. It resulted in a surprise victory for the Conservative Party under leader Edward Heath, which defeated the governing Labour Party under Harold Wilson. The Liberal Party, under its new leader Jeremy Thorpe, lost half their seats. The Conservatives, including the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), secured a majority of 31 seats. This general election was the first in which people could vote from the age of 18, after passage of the Representation of the People Act the previous year.

As of 2019, it is the earliest general election from which there remain members of the House of Commons who have a record of continuous service; Kenneth Clarke of the Conservatives and Dennis Skinner of Labour entered Parliament for the first time at this election. Clarke is the current Father of the House since the death of 86-year-old Gerald Kaufman in February 2017.

Most opinion polls prior to the election indicated a comfortable Labour victory, and put Labour up to 12.4% ahead of the Conservatives. On election day, however, a late swing gave the Conservatives a 3.4% lead and ended almost six years of Labour government, although Wilson remained leader of the Labour Party in opposition. Writing in the aftermath of the election, the political scientist Richard Rose described the Conservative victory as "surprising" and noted a significant shift in votes between the two main parties. The Times journalist George Clark wrote that the election would be "remembered as the occasion when the people of the United Kingdom hurled the findings of the opinion polls back into the faces of the pollsters".The result would provide the mandate for Edward Heath as Prime Minister to begin formal negotiations for the United Kingdom to become a member of the European Communities (EC)—or the "Common Market" as it was more widely known at the time, before it later became the European Union; the UK officially joined the EC on 1 January 1973, along with the Republic of Ireland and Denmark.

Prominent Labour figures George Brown and Jennie Lee were both defeated in their constituencies at this general election.

The 1970 general election was the last election prior to that of 1997 where the Labour Party received more than 40% of the popular vote, and also the last until the 2017 election where the third-largest party by number of votes (in this case the Liberals) achieved less than 10% of the vote.

The election was the last in which a nationwide UK party gained seats in Northern Ireland. The UUP sat with the Conservative Party at Westminster, traditionally taking the Conservative parliamentary whip. To all intents and purposes the UUP functioned as the Northern Ireland branch of the Conservative Party. In 1972, in protest over the permanent prorogation of the Parliament of Northern Ireland, the Westminster UUP MPs withdrew from the alliance.

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight (; also referred to informally as The Island or abbreviated to IoW) is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent. The island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, and is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines. The island is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The island has been home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes. It has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats, the hovercraft, and Britain's space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival, which in 1970 was the largest rock music event ever held. It has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe.

The isle was owned by a Norman family until 1293 and was earlier a kingdom in its own right. In common with the Crown dependencies, the British Crown was then represented on the island by the Governor of the Isle of Wight until 1995. The island has played an important part in the defence of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, and been near the front-line of conflicts through the ages, including the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Historically part of Hampshire, the island became a separate administrative county in 1890. It continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county. Apart from a shared police force, there is now no administrative link with Hampshire, although a combined local authority with Portsmouth and Southampton was considered, this is now unlikely to proceed.The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea; three vehicle ferry and two catamaran services cross the Solent to Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth.

Isle of Wight (UK Parliament constituency)

Isle of Wight () is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2017 by Bob Seely of the Conservative Party.

Created by the Great Reform Act for the 1832 general election it covers the whole of the Isle of Wight. It has the largest electorate of a constituency, since 1983.

List of historical separatist movements

This is a list of historical separatist movements around the world. Separatism includes autonomism and secessionism. Most separatist movements do not succeed in their goal, therefore only notable ones are listed here; however, not all listed here succeeded in their goal.

List of political parties in the United Kingdom

This article lists political parties in the United Kingdom.

Politics of the Isle of Wight

As a geographical entity distinct from the mainland, the Isle of Wight has always fought to have this identity recognised. The Isle of Wight is currently a ceremonial and Non-metropolitan county and as it has no district councils (only the county council) it is effectively a unitary county. The island is also the highest populated Westminster constituency in the country.


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