Tees Party (Northumbria)

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Tees Party
Founded12/02/21
HeadquartersDarlington
Ideology • Regionalism
 • Big tent
 • Teessdale Irredentism
Political positionCentre
Official colours     Teal
Seats in the Parliament
3 / 41
Seats in the Witan
1 / 25
Seats in county councils
9 / 107

The Tees Party is a regionalist political party in the Kingdom of Northumbria which seeks to promote the interests and concerns of Teessiders. Specifically, it was created in order to support Teesdale, currently part of Durham joining a larger Teesside-Teesdale region. Due to its nature the party has limited national appeal, but runs candidates in both the county of Teesside and the Bishopric of Durham, winning four seats in the most recent election.

Other than its regionalist tendencies, the Tees Party is a big tent movement, intended to represent both left-leaning and right-leaning moderates. In practice, most of its voter base maintain a centre-left bias. The party works with various parties on particular issues.

History

The Tees Party was founded in mid February of 2021, and was the last party to be formed following a wave of democratisation reforms implemented by Rilgar Ompastre and the National Democratic Party in January. The Tees Party's formation was especially controversial, as for a time the government continued to proscribe 'regionalist and separatist parties'. They were ultimately allowed to contest elections however on the condition that the party would reject any calls for separation from the Kingdom of Northumbria. The creation of the Witan - the legislature's upper chamber - was introduced to constrain opposition parties like the Tees Party who might attempt to shrink the county of Durham; the Prince-Bishop of Durham and the Abbott of Hexhamshire, both supporters of Durham irredentism, together appoint a majority of the members of the Witan, essentially entrenching Durham irredentism within Northumbria's constitution.

The Tees Party won 10% of the vote and four seats in the March 2021 general election, placing them as the joint fourth largest party. This support emanated from the Tees county itself and the city of Darlington contained within the county of Durham. The Tees Party MPs took up their seats as members of the opposition.

Ideology

The Tees Party's only defining ideology is that of regionalism and Teesdale irredentism. Not only does the party seek to form an enlarged pan-Tees county, but they also more broadly support a greater decentralisation of power away from the national legislature and to the various county councils of Northumbria; some members also support federalism and may consider themselves believers in subsidiarity - the principle that political issues should be dealt with at the most local level possible. Otherwise, the Tees Party is a big tent, and allows for a wide array of social and economic beliefs. In practice, most members are centre-left to right, as more left-wing Teesiders tend to vote for the Socialist Party.

A condition for the Tees Party's membership in any national government coalition is the ceding of territory to the Tees county. The hope is that through consecutive terms in government, the Tees Party can gradually integrate the rest of Teesside and Teesdale which would, it is hoped, be less controversial than integrating the region in one fell swoop.

Electoral Performance

The Tees Party only runs candidates in the Teesside and Teesdale regions. They win mass appeal in the Durham town of Darlington, and generally split constituencies evenly with the Socialist Party in the Teesside county itself. Despite their hopes to integrate Teesdale proper into a larger Tees county, they have failed to win constituencies there, outcompeted by the Christian Democrats.

Election year Leader % +/- seats won +/- Government
March 2021 10 N/A
4 / 41
N/A in opposition
July 2021
3 / 41
1 in opposition

Factions

Middleton-Cleveland Irredentism

Most members of the party support the maxim "from Middleton-in-Teesdale to Cleveland", referring to the belief that the Tees county should stretch from the town of Middleton-in-Teesdale in the west to Cleveland in the east. This would also include major Teesside settlements such as Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington. This belief constitutes part of the party's manifesto, typified in its motto "Tees: River and Valley".

Tees Maximalists

Some party figures termed 'Tees Maximalists' believe the party should push for as large a Tees county as possible. This would involve taking all of the Teesdale region, much of which extends past Middleton-in-Teesdale and goes all the way to Cow Green Reservoir on the Cumbrian border. Many also support integrating Hartlepool and the surrounding area into the Tees county due to identified cultural similarities between the town and Middlesbrough, despite the fact that Hartlepool has never been part of a Tees county or devolved municipality. Most dismiss the faction's ideas as either infeasible or undesirable, arguing that the resultant county would be so expansive as to constitute a 'South Durham' region rather than a true Tees county.