A new political party was launched yesterday - with just 100 friends.
The North East Party said it would campaign for devolution for the region.
Chairman and leader Hilton Dawson said the group hoped to field candidates in 12 constituencies at next year’s General Election.
The former Labour MP said the party had been registered with the Electoral Commission. “We are a small but dedicated band, “ he said.
“There are more than 100 people in good contact with the party and we think it is achievable to get 12 candidates.
“We have been meeting every couple of weeks for the last six months and I am convinced it will grow.”
The first gathering of the new party will be held at the Durham Conference Centre on Monday, June 16th.
Hilton, who retired as a MP after eight years, said he was not planning to stand himself. He said the party would dedicate itself to local politics.
“We have perfectly good examples in Plaid Cymru and the Scottish Nationalists,” he said.
“We can do the same and take control of jobs, public services, caring supportive communities, public transport, world class science and research.
“We will do politics better and be independent, honest, and open to all.”
Hilton, 60, was born in Northumberland and was Labour MP for Lancaster and Wyre from 1997 to 2005. The former social worker quit to return to work in children’s services.
His recent interests have been in championing the region and he set up a company called Northumbria People.
He said the North East Party could provide a voice to many people who did not vote for anyone in last week’s local and European elections.
He said: “We have people from all the main parties and none.
“We are about reclaiming democratic politics.”