Jury Team

Last updated

Jury Team
Leader Sir Paul Judge
Founded13 March 2009
Dissolved9 May 2011
Headquarters152 Grosvenor Road, London, SW1 3JL, United Kingdom [1]
Ideology Nonpartisan politics
Direct Democracy
Political position Big tent
National affiliation Alliance for Democracy

The Jury Team was a British political campaign established in 2009 to back independent candidates in United Kingdom domestic and European elections. Although it was a registered UK political party, it was described as an umbrella organisation giving financial and marketing backing to independent candidates, who were free to set their own political agenda outside of the traditional model of standing as the candidate of a particular party. Jury Team employed a novel selection process for its independent candidates, allowing any member of the public to apply to be promoted for backing, and leaving final candidate selection to the public, by text message voting. After contesting the European Parliament elections in June 2009, the Jury Team's first Independent United Kingdom parliamentary candidate was John Smeaton, who stood in the 2009 Glasgow North East by-election.

2009 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom election

The European Parliament election was the United Kingdom's component of the 2009 European Parliament election, the voting for which was held on Thursday 4 June 2009. The election was held concurrently with the 2009 local elections in England. In total, 72 Members of the European Parliament were elected from the United Kingdom using proportional representation.

Parliament of the United Kingdom Supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom

The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, and domestically simply as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons. The two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London.

2009 Glasgow North East by-election

The 2009 Glasgow North East by-election was a by-election for the Parliament of the United Kingdom's House of Commons constituency of Glasgow North East. The by-election was held on 12 November 2009 following the resignation of Michael Martin as an MP and as Speaker of the House of Commons following the MPs' expenses scandal. Martin was the first Speaker since Sir John Trevor in 1695 to be forced from office. Willie Bain, the Scottish Labour Party candidate, won with 59% of the vote. Just 33% of the electorate voted, which is the lowest ever percentage turnout in a Scottish by-election to the House of Commons.



The Jury Team campaign for more independent politicians was launched on 8 March 2009 by Sir Paul Judge, a businessman and former director-general of the Conservative Party. [2] [3] Jury Team was registered with the UK's Electoral Commission's Register of Political Parties on 13 March 2009, eligible to field candidates in England, Scotland and Wales. [1] Sir Paul is the registered Jury Team Leader and Treasurer, while Alan Wallace is the Jury Team Nominating Officer. [1]

Paul Judge British businessman and philanthropist

Sir Paul Rupert Judge was an English business and political figure. He served as Chairman of the Royal Society of Arts, President of the Chartered Management Institute, and Deputy Chairman of the American Management Association. He also served as the Director General of the Conservative Party and a Ministerial Advisor to the Cabinet Office. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Conservative Party (UK) Political party in the United Kingdom

The Conservative Party, officially the Conservative and Unionist Party, sometimes informally called the Tories, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom. The governing party since 2010, it is the largest in the House of Commons, with 312 Members of Parliament, and also has 249 members of the House of Lords, 4 members of the European Parliament, 31 Members of the Scottish Parliament, 11 members of the Welsh Assembly, eight members of the London Assembly and 8,916 local councillors.

Electoral Commission (United Kingdom) an independent body set up by the UK Parliament

The Electoral Commission is the election commission of the United Kingdom. It is an independent body, set up in 2001 by the British Parliament. It regulates party and election finance and sets standards for how elections should be run.


The name Jury Team reflected the idea behind the jury, that "regular people can make decisions about complex problems with integrity and without any vested interests". [4]

Jury Team was described as an umbrella organisation, with the purpose of giving Independent non-party candidates the platform to compete against the established UK political parties, free of party allegiance and a party whip. [5] [6] The Jury Team aimed to "break the traditional party leaderships' control over the political process". [2] A YouGov poll commissioned by Jury Team as part of its launch suggested that 55% of electors would vote for an Independent candidate if they thought they had a realistic chance of being elected. [2]

A whip is an official of a political party whose task is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. This usually means ensuring that members of the party vote according to the party platform, rather than according to their own individual ideology or the will of their constituents. Whips are the party's "enforcers". They ensure their fellow legislators attend voting sessions and vote according to official party policy.

YouGov international internet-based market research firm

YouGov is a British international Internet-based market research and data analytics firm, headquartered in the UK, with operations in Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.

Jury Team had no manifesto or specific policies; any member of the public who was considered to be "committed to the principles of good governance, including selflessness, integrity, openness and honesty" could be publicised by the organisation as a potential Jury Team candidate, and candidates were selected by a system of public voting by text message. [7] The Jury Team candidates that stood in the 2009 European elections represented both sides of the political spectrum as well as those representing several single issue platforms. [8]

Manifesto published declaration of principles and intentions of an individual or group

A manifesto is a published declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government. A manifesto usually accepts a previously published opinion or public consensus or promotes a new idea with prescriptive notions for carrying out changes the author believes should be made. It often is political or artistic in nature, but may present an individual's life stance. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds.

A policy is a deliberate system of principles to guide decisions and achieve rational outcomes. A policy is a statement of intent, and is implemented as a procedure or protocol. Policies are generally adopted by a governance body within an organization. Policies can assist in both subjective and objective decision making. Policies to assist in subjective decision making usually assist senior management with decisions that must be based on the relative merits of a number of factors, and as a result are often hard to test objectively, e.g. work-life balance policy. In contrast policies to assist in objective decision making are usually operational in nature and can be objectively tested, e.g. password policy.

As well as Jury Team, Jury Team Party and Jury Team Independents, the organisation also registered the following as official Party Descriptions: Democracy 2.0, Democracy, Accountability, Transparency, Politics for the People, Politics Isn't Working, Politics with Principles and Politics without Parties. [1]

While Jury Team had no party policies, they did declare 12 basic principles on issues of governance and representation, covering areas such as term limits and pay transparency for elected representatives, changes to the operation of select committees and government departments, independence of statistical reporting and complaints functions, and changes to the rules regarding referendums and calling of general elections. [9] They opposed the alternative vote and said that the AV referendum was a "political stitch-up". [10]

Candidate selection

According to its founder and leader Sir Paul Judge, Jury Team Independent candidates "legally committed themselves to our three guiding principles of democracy, accountability and transparency and to abiding by the seven Nolan Principles of Public Life", and "had all "pledged to vote on conscience for the good of their constituents and the country and will not be required to obey a party whip". [8]

Jury Team Independent candidates for the 2009 European Parliament elections could stand for selection in every British European Parliament constituency region except Northern Ireland. Candidates individual political positions were promoted through the Jury Team website between 16 March to 24 April 2009, during which time the public could vote for their preferred candidates. [11] The successful candidates in each region were then ranked by the number of text votes cast, in order to produce a 'party list' for each region according to their allocated number of seats. [11] (European Parliament seats from in England, Scotland and Wales are allocated using a system of proportional representation using the d'Hondt formula.)

On 25 September 2009 it was announced that John Smeaton, an airport worker who came to national attention for intervening in the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack, would be the first candidate selected by Jury Team to stand for a seat in the Westminster Parliament, and would contest the 2009 Glasgow North East by-election for the vacant seat formerly held by the Speaker of the House Michael Martin. [12]


European Parliament election 2009

Jury Team backed 59 Independent candidates in the 2009 European Parliament elections. [8] While no Jury Team candidate gained a seat in the European Parliament, the candidates collectively registered 0.5% of the total votes cast in Great Britain, ranking Jury Team candidates as a whole 13th among other parties in Great Britain. [5]

Glasgow North East by-election, 2009

John Smeaton stood as the Jury Team backed Independent candidate in the 2009 Glasgow North East by-election, he came eighth out of 13 candidates with 258 votes. [12]

2010 General Election

Jury Team fielded Independent candidates in the 2010 General Election, on 6 May 2010. [2] The group hoped to increase on the number of 5 Independent MPs elected in 2005 out of a total of 646 currently sitting in the House of Commons. [2] No Jury Team candidates were elected MPs.


The Jury Team campaign was funded by Sir Paul Judge from his estimated £30m personal wealth, together with three other financial backers. [7] The organisation's financial rules precluded individual donations of more than £50,000, in line with the 2006 Sir Hayden Phillips inquiry. [7]


Jury Team's candidate public vote by text message selection method was likened to the reality TV shows The X-Factor and American Idol . [7] TIME magazine called the movement similar to the reality show American Idol [4] Jury Team's lack of manifesto attracted the moniker the "anti-party party". [4] Anthony King stated of Jury Team that "The idea that a non-party party could get very far is farfetched." [7]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 "Register of political parties – Jury Team". Official website. Party finance > Registers database > Register of political parties. The Electoral Commission. n.d. Archived from the original on 27 March 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Kirkup, James (8 March 2009). "Sir Paul Judge starts 'Jury Team' campaign for more independent MPs". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  3. White, Michael (9 March 2009). "Oh no – not another new party". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  4. 1 2 3 Lee Adams, William (17 March 2009). "Britain's New American Idol Political Party". Time Magazine. London. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  5. 1 2 "Jury Team wins 0.5% of EU votes". BBC News. 8 June 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
  6. "MPs' expenses: Jury Team founded as anti-sleaze group". The Daily Telegraph. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Gourlay, Chris (8 March 2009). "Tycoon finances 'X Factor' party to clean up politics". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  8. 1 2 3 "Rantzen backs Jury Team project". BBC News. 20 May 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
  9. "About the Jury Team". Juryteam.org. Archived from the original on 29 September 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009.
  10. "AV referendum: Where parties stand". BBC News. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2011.
  11. 1 2 "Euro Elections 2009". Jury Team. n.d. Archived from the original on 20 March 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2009.
  12. 1 2 "Smeaton pledges to 'badger' MPs". BBC News. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 25 September 2009.