Vectis National Party

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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