We believe in a system that accommodates independent-minded local candidates and rewards ability and integrity above party loyalty.
Renew was founded on the basic guiding principles of reform, renewal, fairness, honesty, integrity, meritocracy, evidence-based decision-making, transparency and participation.
We feel that successive governments have failed to maintain the high standards required to maintain trust in public life and, as a result, political parties are attracting fewer and fewer of the best candidates for public office.
Candidates supported by Renew are required to subscribe to the following six political principles, and to maintain them.
- The principle of electoral and political reform in the UK
- Opposition to nationalism, populism, and all forms of prejudice.
- Opposition to extremism and political efforts to divide society rather than unite it.
- Commitment to calm, rational debate and agreement to avoid inflammatory language online and in person.
- Commitment to evidence-based policy and decision-making.
- Commitment to the principle of working across political divides and participating in cross-party dialogue and initiatives, locally and nationally.
In the General Election of 2017, a number of candidates stood as Independents, on principle, to offer an alternative to the main political parties that had failed the electorate and polarised the country. Following the election, these candidates decided to form a new political party, in order to harness the skills and energy of those disenchanted with traditional politics and to provide a platform for change, enabling newcomers to stand for office under the Renew banner.
Renew was officially launched on 18th February 2018 at the Queen Elizabeth II centre in Westminster. The event was covered by the BBC, UK daily papers and major national newspapers from dozens of countries worldwide. The following day we embarked on our Listen To Britain Tour, visiting 22 towns and cities, meeting Renew supporters, holding street stalls, addressing students in schools and universities and conducting over 5000 surveys. In the days following the launch, over 700 people applied to become Renew candidates through our online portal.
- May 2018 - Stand candidates in local elections in the North West and London.
- September 2018 - Form alliance with Advance Together.
- November 2018 - Inaugural Renew Conference - Policy blueprint released, first 100 approved candidates announced, rebrand revealed.
- April 2019 - First by-election contested, June Davies in Newport West.
- May 2019 - 2 councillors elected in Morecambe and Bedford. Form electoral alliance with Change UK for the European Elections - 6 Renew candidates participate in 4 regions of the UK.
- June 2019 - Contest Peterborough by-election.
- July 2019 - Renew Conference Birmingham - former MEP Julie Girling elected leader, Digital Democracy system revealed.
- November 2019 - Renew join the Unite to Remain initiative and step down candidates in 49 battleground seats.
- December 2019 - Contest GE2019 seats in Bromley, Edinburgh, Hackney and Sefton.
- July 2020 - James Clarke elected Leader, Carla Burns elected Deputy Leader.
- May 2021 - Contest the London Mayoral and Scottish Assembly elections.
Renew has been built authentically, from the ground up, as a truly grassroots organisation, on a shoestring and without the patronage of well-known political names and faces. We have learned how to campaign, how to canvas, how to recruit, train and stand candidates all over the UK from town councils to the national and European stage. This experience has been hard-won and we believe that there is no substitute; no short-cuts in building a credible challenger to the parties of the status quo.
The next stage of the journey will involve carving out a distinct niche for Renew, recruiting a wider group of independent-minded candidates from across the country and promoting the message of genuine reform through participation.
Our goal at Renew is to provide a solution to the problems that have emerged in the UK in recent years. Those include:
- A Westminster system that puts party before country, rewards loyalty above judgment or ability, and attracts politically ambitious but often ill-equipped candidates for high office.
- A tribal political culture that promotes partisan positions and makes parties beholden to small numbers of polarising and extreme factions.
- An overly centralised system that alienates people outside the centres of power.
- An exclusive and unwelcoming political culture that fails to attract enough diverse talent.
- The perception of UK politics as an ossified franchise system where the dominance of 2 parties is locked-in, irrespective of merit or performance.
Our approach is to provide a genuinely open platform for change, where those who want to participate in our democracy can do so without needing to subscribe to prescriptive or outdated ideologies or deny/retract sincerely-held political beliefs in order to toe the party line. Renew candidates will be required to subscribe to our pledge and code of conduct, but campaign locally on their own conscience and with the ability to focus on the local issues that matter most to people.
In this way we hope to attract candidates and voters away from the old party system and towards a more positive vision of inclusive politics that has reform and fairness at its core. Our goal is to able to stand quality candidates in key seats in every region of the UK at the next General Election and to make a major impact on the result.