TERRY WAITE, a former secretary for Anglican Communion affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and a Beirut hostage 20 years ago, may stand as an independent parliamentary candidate at the next election, it emerged this week, . On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Mr Waite, who is overseas, confirmed that he was considering the move along with the former BBC journalist and independent MP, Martin Bell; but “he hasn’t made a decision one way or another,” she said.
Mr Bell told the BBC on Monday that the two men had teamed up after Mr Waite wrote a newspaper article arguing for more independent parliamentary candidates. He had written that independent MPs “won’t have all the answers, but they may well bring some fresh air into a political hothouse that has been suffocating for far too long”.
The pair had considered fielding a team of independent candidates as well as standing themselves, Mr Bell said. Their idea was to target constituencies where MPs had been “named and shamed” over their expenses.
The plan was a “quiet conspiracy between old chums” rather than a new political party, he said. He had not ruled out standing, although, he said, “I think I am a bit old, at 70, to be the piston rods of revolution.” Mr Waite “may have a go himself”.
Mr Bell was an independent MP for four years after defeating the Conservative MP Neil Hamilton, in 1997. The former TV presenter Esther Rantzen has announced that she will fight Luton South, where Margaret Moran MP was criticised over her parliamentary expenses.