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.

Skipton and Ripon Labour Party makes nomination for party leader

Skipton and Ripon Labour Party has nominated Keir Starmer for the new leader of the Labour Party and Angela Rayner as deputy leader.

The nominations were made at a meeting in Ripon on February 4, 2020. It was attended by more than sixty members of the party from across the constituency, with some travelling from Skipton and Settle to take part. Members heard speeches in support of all four leadership contenders but in a secret ballot Keir Starmer won support of the majority present on the basis of first preferences alone.

Following the completion of the national nomination process later this month, ballot papers will go out to party members and the result of the election for leader and deputy will be announced in April.



2019 General Election result

Labour consolidated its position as the principal challenger to the Conservatives in Skipton and Ripon following the 2019 general election.

The full result of the December 12 poll was:

Candidate Party Votes
Andy BROWN Green Party 2748  
Brian MCDAID Labour Party 11225  
Andrew MURDAY Liberal Democrats 8701
Jack Render Yorkshire Party 1131
Julian SMITH The Conservative Party 34919 ELECTED

Turnout: 74.9% . There were 239 spoilt papers.

Comparisons with 2017 are complicated by the fact that the Lib Dems, despite having being in second place from the formation of the constituency in 1983 until 2015, did not stand at the last general election. This time they took votes off all other parties, with, not surprisingly the highest percentage coming from ourselves. But despite that we comfortably retained second place and the overall Conservative majority fell from its 2017 high of  62 per cent to 59.5per cent.

On a bad night for Labour overall, we have good reason to believe that we put in credible local performance in a seat where the main issue has always been who will be the Conservatives main challenger.

Speaking after the count Labour’s Brian McDaid pledged that Labour would continue to fight for those who have suffered in the years’ of austerity and highlight the tragedy of child poverty and growing use of foodbanks.

The 2019 campaign also saw high levels of activity by local Labour Party members both within the constituency and in helping in near by marginals.