Labour narrowly failed to take our two Craven target seats on the new North Yorkshire County Council in the May 5 poll.

Peter Madeley and Independent Andy Solloway actually polled the same number of votes (503 each) in Skipton West and West Craven, and after three recounts produced the same result, lots were drawn, as is required under electoral law, and the council seat went to the Independent.

In Skipton East and South, Labour’s Brian McDaid was just 20 votes short of Independent Robert Heseltine with 620 votes compared with the winner’s 640. The Tories’ Laura Midwinter was a distant third on 347. The Lib Dems polled just 134.

In North Yorkshire overall, Labour won 12 seats. The Tories now hold a narrow majority of four on the 90 seat council, which will assume full responsibility for local services from May 2023. In the meantime the new councillors will be working alongside the existing county council and district councils before the completion of the transition next year.

Under the new structure of local government in North Yorkshire, town and parish councils will be expected to take on a greater role, and in Skipton, one of the few areas where town councillors stand under party emblems, Labour will now have four councillors – Peter Madeley and Brian McDaid, were elected unopposed in Skipton West and Aidan Higgins and Lewis Morgan won their seats in Skipton South.

Thanks to all those members who worked during the election campaign and thanks to our candidates in all the county council divisions in Craven – Chris Thorp in Glusburn Crosshills and Sutton in Craven, Chris Rose in Wharfedale, Aidan Higgins in Settle and Penyghent and Lewis Morgan in Bentham and Ingleton.

The full county council election results can be found here



Alan Hickman

It is with great sadness that we mark the death of Alan Hickman, one of the leading members of Skipton and Ripon Labour Party over many years.

Alan, whose photograph features in the cover illustration on this website, as the Labour canvasser handing a leaflet to local residents, died on April 25, at the age of 81, after a long illness.

Alan served as a member of Skipton Town Council for many years and was the town’s mayor in 2018-19, the first Labour mayor of the town in four decades.

A life long socialist and peace campaigner Alan was a major in the Salvation Army and for more than 15 years was to be seen in Skipton town centre handing out salvationist literature. It was just a few weeks ago, as illness took its toll on his health that Alan wrote to the local paper, the Craven Herald, announcing that he was retiring from this work and offering a prayer to all those who had been in contact with him in this role over the years.

Alan was one of those who kept the Skipton and Ripon Labour Party going at a time when few were willing to attend meetings, let alone take part in campaigning activities. He was always willing to take the lead whatever the activity, whether it be helping run the fund-raising cafes, market stalls or acting as the local party’s representative to the national Labour conference.

He was a strong advocate of fair trade and the wearing of the white poppy. He was also physically courageous sky diving for charity when in his late seventies and later taking part in the town’s Santa run.

Alan was generous and considerate and described by political allies and opponents alike as a true gentleman.

He made a massive contribution to Skipton and to the Labour Party and will be sorely missed.

Our thoughts are with Alan’s wife Marie and their family.

Alan Hickman photographed in 2018 on becoming Skipton first Labour mayor for 40 years.

A FRESH START FOR NORTH YORKSHIRE – County Council Elections 2022

Labour’s manifesto for the 2022 North Yorkshire County Council Elections offers A Fresh Start for North Yorkshire.

The manifesto was launched by party members and council candidates at events across the county at the start of the election campaign on March 28. You can read the full manifesto here


Skipton and Ripon Labour members launch our 2022 local election campaign


Labour will be standing six candidates in the Skipton and Ripon constituency.

They are:

Peter Madeley – Skipton West and West Craven

Brian McDaid – Skipton East and South

Chris Thorp – Glusburn, Cross Hills and Sutton-in-Craven

Aidan Higgins – Settle and Pen-y-Ghent

Chris Rose – Wharfedale

Lewis Morgan – Bentham and Ingleton.

You can read more about our candidates here



The May 5 elections are the first opportunity for voters to elect representatives to the new unitary authority which will replace both the old North Yorkshire County Council and the district councils from 2023. The 90 councillors elected in May will serve for one year as county councillors and then a further four years as members of the new authority which comes into office in April next year.

The new council will be responsible for the full range of local services from refuse collection to social services and highway maintenance.

Labour believes that for too long North Yorkshire has been run by a Conservative led council that paid more notice to its political masters in Westminster than it did to local residents.

The austerity years have cut local services to the bone. Nothing has been done to address the growing crisis in social services. Communities increasingly rely on volunteers to provide services once provided by local councils. A strong Labour group will offer a fresh start for the new council with strong policies based on our principles of Security, Prosperity and Respect.

We offer a new approach to tackle our housing crisis, rural poverty, and the crisis in social care. We have plans to develop the local economy with the emphasis on improving transport, developing training and skills and education. At the heart of our approach will be the need for equal treatment for all, a community based approach to policy making and the need to tackle the climate crisis through strong policies on the environment.


One effect of the new structure of local government in North Yorkshire will be the potential for more power for town and parish councils. We are therefore delighted that Labour candidates Peter Madeley and Brian McDaid have been elected unopposed as representatives of Skipton West on Skipton Town Council.

Other Labour candidates for town council seats are: Lewis Morgan and Aidan Higgins who are standing in Skipton South.

Party members are also standing in other parish council elections, though as is traditional they will be standing as independents rather than as party representatives.

For more on the 2022 local elections visit North Yorkshire Labour’s dedicated site https://northyorkshire.laboursites.org/category/news/

E o

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner election result

After counting second preferences of all but the top two candidates, the split between Conservative and Labour in the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner by election held on November 27 2021 was almost exactly the same as it had been in the original election held in May. Tory Zoe Metcalfe won 61 per cent of votes cast compared with Labour’s Emma Scott-Spivey’s 39 per cent.

The big difference was the turnout. At 15 percent it was only half that of May – meaning only one voter in seven went to the polls. It costs around a million pounds to run an election across North Yorkshire and York so the inescapable conclusion must be that by choosing Philip Allott, who lasted just six months before he showed himself totally unsuited to the job, the local Conservatives have cost tax payers money that would have been much better spent on fighting crime.

The post of Police Commissioner was created by the coalition government in the early twenty tens. There is little public understanding of the role or responsibilities and even less opportunity for candidates to make their case to a massive and widespread electorate so it is little surprise that turnout is low and those who do vote tend to do so on party lines.

Labour is grateful to supporters who turned out to vote; to party activists who campaigned for Emma; and to a hard-working candidate who did all she could to meet voters in a short campaign.

Emma pledges to restore trust and rebuild the frontline in Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner by election

Emergency services worker Emma Scott-Spivey is Labour’s candidate in the November 2021 by election to replace the disgraced Tory Philip Allott as North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.

You can read more about Emma and her priorities to restore trust and rebuild the frontline here https://emma4northyorkshire.org.uk/

The election takes place on November 25 but postal votes are due to start dropping from November 9. Voters can choose a first and second preference. In all previous elections it has come down to a choice between Labour and the Tories so the second preferences of those voting for other candidates is once again likely to be crucial.

Election results May 2021

On a difficult day for Labour across the country unfortunately we were unable to break away from the national trend. One crumb of comfort was that Labour’s Bill Mercer, standing as an independent topped the poll in the Cowling Parish Council election. Well done Bill.

Brian McDaid came second in the Ribblesdale County Council by election polling 475 compared with Tory David Staveley’s winning total of 1537. The Lib Dems came third with 430 and the Greens got 395.

In the Penyghent District Council by election Brian polled a disappointing 103, compared with the winning Tory total of 392 and the Lib Dems who have previously done well in this predominantly rural seat, but surprisingly did not stand last time round, got 295 votes.

The county wide poll for the new Police, Fire, and Crime Commissioner proved the most interesting contest and a better reflection of how things stand across Craven. (The Ripon part of the constituency was counted in Harrogate and so it is not possible to give a separate breakdown for that area).

Overall, across North Yorkshire and York the Tory Philip Allott comfortably held the post taking a final total of 84,737 compared with our own Alison Hume’s 53,442.

In Craven on first preferences Philip Allott’ got 6,398. Alison Hume 3,229, the Independent got 1,999 and the Lib Dems came last on 1,525. Once the Lib Dems and Independents had been eliminated and their second preferences counted – Alison took a further 1,235 of these and Allott 1,012. It was a similar picture across most of North Yorkshire with Labour picking up a small majority of second preferences but not enough to erode the Tories’ strong lead on first preferences.

These are almost certainly the last elections in the current set up for local government in North Yorkshire. Within a month or two a Tory minister in Whitehall will decide how we are to be governed in future – either with the current North Yorkshire and York as two separate unitary authorities or with two unitaries splitting the county down the middle.

It could also be the this will be the last we see of elections for police, fire and crime commissioner as the prospective mayor for North Yorkshire could yet take on that role, as other mayors have done.

One interesting fact to emerge from the count was that many voters fail to appreciate how the second preference system works. So a lot of people voted for the same candidate as first and second preference meaning just their first vote counted. The only ones that made a difference were those that voted either Lib Dem or Independent in the first column and then either Labour or Conservative in the second.

A lesson to be drawn is that if we do ever move to a system of PR there is a lot of electoral education that needs to be done, if the system is to be seen to fulfil voters’ wishes.

Finally of course thanks need to be given to all those who helped in the various campaigns, especially those who delivered large quantities of leaflets and also to our candidates – especially Brian and Alison whose efforts deserved better reward.

Next year there should be a whole new round of elections and lots of work is needed in the meantime to build on the lessons learnt this spring.

Brian McDaid to contest Craven area by elections for Labour

Brian McDaid, Labour’s former parliamentary candidate for Skipton and Ripon, has been chosen by the party to contest both the Ribblesdale county council and the Penyghent district council seats in by elections to be held on May 6.

These will be the only council elections to be held in Craven this spring, following the government’s decision to postpone both the scheduled county council and district council elections because of the current consultation on the re-organisation of local government in North Yorkshire: elections are only taking place here because of the death earlier this year of sitting councillor Richard Welch.

Brian McDaid has lived and worked in Craven for most of his adult life. He is Assistant General Secretary of Aegis the Union, where he represents workers employed by Skipton Building Society, Computershare and other financial organisations across the UK. He is also a school governor and his two children attend local schools. His wife works for the NHS as a Paramedic.

Brian said: “The next year will be a crucial one for this area and the whole of North Yorkshire. The way in which local services are delivered will change with very little consideration given to the views of residents. It is vital that people of this area have a strong and independent voice both on North Yorkshire County Council and Craven District Council.

“The past ten years have seen drastic cuts in the resources provided by central government. We were promised a total reform of social care but council tax payers here are still having to bear the increasingly heavy burden of funding a system that, as the coronavirus pandemic has shown, is not fit for purpose.

“I will work with Labour colleagues on both councils to see that local people’s voices are heard and the councils are not just there to implement the will of central government.

“This is a special place that must not be ignored. I will encourage sustainable tourism and work to ensure visitors are respectful of our unique environment and communities. I will work closely with communities to protect our county from flooding, fracking and wildlife crime. I will work closely with our local police service and other vital community organisations to ensure our communities are safer and inclusive for everyone, and I will press for improved public transport to counter rural isolation and improve links across the region. The past year has shown the importance of education, and I will do all I can to ensure greater support for young people and their mental health.”

North Yorkshire Labour calls for reform of care funding as it reluctantly backs county’s council tax hike

The Labour group on North Yorkshire County Council has reluctantly supported the proposed 3.49 per cent increase in the county’s share of council  tax for 2021-2022. This will add just over £45 a year to the amount paid by the average band D property.

The group supported the raise proposed by the controlling Tory group in light of the pressures on adult social care and young peoples services throughout the pandemic.

Group Leader Eric Broadbent said: ““The last thing we want to see is any reduction in critical services that the council provides. We have voted for the increase so that we can continue to support those that need it most.

“It remains our belief that services should be adequately funded from central government and not through the structurally unfair council tax system .
Council tax is a regressive tax that penalises the lowest paid more as they pay proportionally more of their income to their council .

“Indeed the Institute for Fiscal Studies calculates that the poorest 10 per cent of the population (even after taking into account council tax support for low income families) pay 8 per cent of their income in council tax, while the next 50 per cent pay 4-5 per cent and the richest 40 per cent pay only 2-3 per cent.

“We clearly need an over haul of this antiquated system for funding essential services . The county’s share of council tax will rise by a 1.99 per cent supplemented with a 1.5 per cent social care precept leading to a total council tax increase of 3.49 per cent. In addition to the amount levied by the county council, council tax bills also include amounts charged by the district and parish/town council for each area.

Local government re-organisation in North Yorkshire

Skipton and Ripon Labour Party has viewed with dismay government proposals to reform local government in North Yorkshire, moving away from the mix of a county council and seven districts to one of unitary authorities.

Whilst not opposed in principle to the change from a system where services- are provided by different authorities and residents are often unclear as to which authority is responsible for instance for recycling services, we do not believe that now is the right time for a major shake-up which will require considerable resources that would be better devoted to dealing with Covid 19 and the regulations introduced to tackle the pandemic. We also believe that the consultation, which precludes any moves to engage with neighbouring unitary authorities is far too narrow.

We further regret the uncertainty about whether the 2021 county council elections will take place.

All campaigns suspended due to coronavirus precautions

The Skipton and Ripon Labour party suspended all  meetings and campaigning activities throughout the early part of 2020, in line with the national party guidance on measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

We considered it unfortunate, though entirely understandable and absolutely right that this year’s local elections in Craven have been postponed , as they have across the rest of the country,  because of the coronavirus crisis.

It is an essential part of our democracy that local councillors are accountable to the electorate and have to decide at a time not of their choosing whether to stand down or seek re-election. But in times of national emergency such as those that we now face all our attention has to be on protecting the vulnerable, assisting the  health and caring services and following the guidance of experts.

The coming weeks and months will put great pressure on local authorities that are already stretched as a result of years of budget cuts and it is right that officers and resources should not be diverted by the task of organising elections, that not only require time and effort but also involve use of schools and public buildings and considerable interaction, not least by candidates and political activists engaging with the public.

Meanwhile, those of us who would otherwise have been out conducting election activities will be devoting our time and using our contacts to ensure that those in need receive the help and support they require; that we do all we can to help both voluntary organisations and the health and caring professional cope with all the additional pressures; and that we do all we can to see that official guidance is followed, no matter how much that disrupts our individual lives.

In summer 2020 meeting resumed on line and throughout the autumn our branches and constituency party have held a number of meetings, some with guest speakers. We are campaigning on line but at present door-to-door leafletting and canvassing are suspended.