THE English Democrats Party has set up a new branch to cover the Rayleigh, Rochford and Southend East, Southend West and Castle Point constituencies.

At least three seats will be contested in the Rochford District Council elections next year by the party, which is campaigning for an English parliament.

Former UKIP activist Brian Lee, eastern counties chairman of the party, said he was pleased to see the branch had been set up.

Paula Hayter, who achieved 30 per cent of the vote in Rayleigh Lodge Ward, will stand again, while Kim Gandy, who has stood previously in Basildon, will stand in Central Ward.

The other candidates have not yet been announced.

Mrs Hayter's husband, John, a solicitor, has been adopted as the parliamentary candidate for the new seat of Rayleigh and Wickford, and will face current Tory MP Mark Francois.

Mr Hayter said: "Despite a recent survey showing 68 per cent of the country wanted an English parliament, there is a conspiracy of silence about this vital issue and the silence is deafening."