Author Archives: skiptonriponlabour

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.



Brian McDaid is Labour candidate for 2019 general election

Brian McDaid

A Skipton-based man who represents workers in the finance sector has been chosen as Labour’s candidate to contest Skipton and Ripon in the December 2019 general election.

Brian McDaid, a father of two who lives in Gargrave, is Assistant General Secretary of the finance union Aegis. He represents workers from both Skipton Building Society and Computershare and other finance institutions across the UK.

Brian has lived in the area for the past fifteen years. He is a school governor and campaigns on health and education issues.

Brian said: “The Conservatives’ austerity policies have had a devastating effect on local services over the past nine years. My wife works in the health service and our family have benefited from the tremendous and invaluable care that it provides, but I fear for the future. The Government boasts about the funding going into the service but the real issue is whether it is getting the money it needs to provide the services in health and social care that are desperately needed.

“The country is crying out for change. Labour is committed to building both a fair society and a strong economy. The two go together. We need urgent action to tackle the climate emergency. The local commitment to make Craven carbon neutral by 2030 matches Labour’s national pledge. We owe it to future generations to build a sustainable economy, affordable housing that is energy efficient and jobs for the future.

“Labour will end the Brexit nightmare by giving people the choice between the best possible Brexit deal and sticking with things the way they are. Of course, it is important we recognise the outcome of the 2016 Referendum, but what matters is what people want now and try to resolve the detrimental divisions this situation has created within our communities. Brexit might have prompted the election but it must not just be about Brexit.”

Brian McDaid can be contacted on



Promoted by Mike Smith on behalf of Brian McDaid both of 12 The Green, Settle BD24 9HL


Results of May 2019 local elections in Craven

Labour retained the one seat we were defending in this year’s Craven District Council elections. Peter Madeley increased his share of the vote in Skipton West going from 36 per cent to over 50 percent. We also gained a seat on Skipton Town Council with Gerardo Iannaccone joining sitting councillors Peter Madeley and Alan Hickman who both retained their seats. Congratulations to them and commiserations to our other candidates who did not do as well but did at least give all our supporters an opportunity to put their x against the party name – something none of the other parties can claim.

Overall, in the 11district council seats  where elections took place this year, the Conservatives went down from seven seats to four; the Independents went up from two to five. The Greens gained one and UKIP lost its only seat.  This now means that the Conservatives have lost overall control of Craven District Council, with just 15 out of the 30 seats. The Independents have nine seats, we have three, the Greens two and Lib Dems one.

The full results are on the Craven District Council website at Council elections 2019

Turnout overall was 37 per cent but  ranged from 50percent in Upper Wharfedale to just 29 percent in Skipton South. The previous time that most of these seats were contested coincided with the 2015 general election. Which parties contested which seats also varied from 2015 so it is hard to draw too many conclusions. But we were proud to be the only party contesting all the district council seats. In many cases we held or even increased our share of the vote and where it went down this was largely due to the range of opponents. UKIP and perhaps more surprisingly the Lib Dems no longer appear to be a force in Craven and the gains for Independents and Greens reflect what appears to be a national trend.

Thanks once again go to all our candidates, those who signed their nomination papers and the many activists who turned out to campaign across the borough.


Labour to contest all 11 seats up for election in Craven this spring

Labour is the only party contesting all the 11 seats on Craven District Council that are subject to election on May 2.

As well as defending the seat of Labour Group Leader Peter Madeley in Skipton West, Labour will also be standing in the three other Skipton seats. Union officer Brian McDaid will be our candidate in Skipton South;  train driver Adrian Lunn will be flying the Labour flag in Skipton North and teacher Gerardo Iannaccone will be the Labour candidate in Skipton East.

Outside Skipton, lorry driver David Grace will be contesting Bentham; Bob Holland will be representing Labour in Embsay and Eastby; former teacher Paula Derry will be standing for Gargrave and Malhamdale; author and journalist Paul Routledge will again be contesting Glusburn; whilst retired training consultant John Pope is standing in Sutton. West Craven will be contested by  former union official Geraldine Reardon and the by election in Upper Wharfedale is being fought for Labour by graphic artist Virpi Kettu.

Labour will also be running a strong campaign to strengthen our team of councillors on Skipton Town Council where all 16 seats are subject to election on May 2.

Peter Madeley and Alan Hickman will be defending the seats they hold in Skipton West, where they are hoping to be joined by local residents John Pope and Gerardo Iannaccone. Brian McDaid, Elizabeth Sessford and Claire Ling are our candidates in Skipton South, whilst Virpi Kettu will be contesting Skipton North, where she performed well in last year’s by election.

Labour candidates ready for the campaign

Many of our candidates now have their own facebook pages. You can follow them through these links

Adrian Lunn

Paula Derry

Claire Ling

Elizabeth Sessford

Brian McDaid

Gerardo Iannaccone

Peter Madeley

Virpi Kettu

Some of our candidates have also made videos introducing themselves. Here is one by mother and daughter Elizabeth Sessford and Claire Ling Elizabeth and Claire – the video


Campaign materials are all promoted by Mike Smith on behalf of Labour Candidates in Craven all at 12 The Green, Settle, BD24 9HL.


Local Elections in Craven 2019 – What our candidates say

We would love to be able  to talk to every voter about our candidates and their policies. And if we could not do that then at least we’d like to be able to deliver a leaflet to all of you. But sadly we have neither the resources nor the volunteers to do that so this year, we are concentrating our efforts in just a few seats but we do want all voters to know who we are and what we stand for so first of all here are our key messages:

Craven is crying out for change

And here you can find out more about our individual candidates.


David Grace – Bentham

David has lived in Yorkshire all his life apart from the time he served in the Army. He moved to the Craven area 15 years ago, is married, has two grown up children and one grandchild. He has been a lorry driver for the past 18 years and enjoys spending his downtime with his family. David believes that everyone should be given equal opportunities in life whatever their background and that the community plays a vital role in overall wellbeing and helps people to build foundations that shape their future. He also feels that it is important for everyone within the community to be heard and listened to. He says “ Social care is vital in our community and people should never be dismissed. Time and time again it has been shown that austerity does not work – everyone is important and should matter.”


Bob Holland – Embsay with Eastby

Bob says: “According to Age UK seven per cent of all households are being denied the social care they need. That is equivalent to 60 elderly people in Embsay and Eastby. This is distressing for our elderly neighbours and their carers, who often lose earnings or become ill. Craven has a high number of elderly, as I am 80 I feel personally about this. I feel their voice needs to be heard.

I am standing for the LABOUR PARTY in this election , to give voters a chance to show opposition to Tory “ Austerity” policies. TORIES are harming young families with by HIGH RENTS,FROZEN BENEFITS, CUTS in SCHOOL BUDGETS, LACK OF SOCIAL HOUSING here ,and GROWING UNEMPLOYMENT in YORKSHIRE.

Whilst Craven Council cannot do anything about Brexit, people ask me about Labour’s policy on Europe. It is (a) We accept the result of referendum; b) we recognise a compromise is needed between the two main parties, to avoid “No Deal” Brexit; c) A PEOPLE’S VOTE is part of our policy. I would be happy to discuss this or other local issues with residents.Please send your comments to:-


Paula Derry – Gargrave and Malhamdale

Paula says: ‘We say we want local democracy but locally ALL of these have for a very long time been controlled by the Conservative Party:

• Member of Parliament – currently Julian Smith – Chief Whip
• County Council
• District Council
• Skipton Town Council.

Every cut in services and denial of support for communities has been made by the Conservative Party. When we are told that there is no money for traffic calming measures around our villages or for anything else to improve our lives this is a direct result of their policies.

Issues around really affordable housing for local people are not being addressed.

Next year will see even deeper cuts to local government budgets by central government, approved by our MP Julian Smith. Our local representatives will be choosing which services to cut or not cut.

At the moment they do not have to care about what you want or need as they think you will always vote for them anyway!



Paul Routledge – Glusburn

Paul Routledge is resident in Cross Hills, moving here ten years ago from Cowling. He says:
“I am a journalist [columnist with the Daily Mirror] with long experience of politics – though not yet as an elected representative!
“If elected, I would push for improvements in public transport, and enforcement of the speed limits on road traffic through the village. I would also seek to get rid of some eyesores that blight the main road.
“Glusburn and Cross Hills need a new voice in the Craven Council chamber. I aspire to be that voice.”


Skipton East – Gerardo Iannaccone

I moved to Skipton in 1998 from Spain to take up a teaching post in a local school with my wife, Helen.
We settled in the Skipton area and have one child who attends a local school.
I have decided to stand as a Labour candidate in the local elections because I believe every town needs people speaking for them.
We represent the 99% who want fairness and better society for all.
I want to see my town strive and succeed even under the draconian politically driven austerity cuts sent down from Theresa May’s government.
Vote for me on local Elections on Thursday 2nd May
for Skipton East War for Craven District Council and Skipton West Ward for Skipton Town Council.
Let’s make things better together!


Skipton North district council candidate – Adrian Lunn 

I have recently moved into the ward, having lived/worked in Skipton for 30 years. I’m a train driver based at Skipton Railway Station, having started as a conductor/guard in 1992 with British Rail.
Skipton has grown and grown over the past 30 years but the infrastructure of the town hasn’t kept up with the increased growth. We still have only two doctors surgeries.
The roads are gridlocked, Newmarket Street/Otley Road/Shortbank Road roundabout which will only get worse due to the building of more houses.
More and more green spaces are under threat of being built on (Park hill).
Skipton North Ward has the junction of A65/A59 & A6131 which is the only junction on Skipton Bypass (Snaygill to Harrogate/Leeds roundabout) that doesn’t have a roundabout, recently this junction has seen many accidents including the death of a motorcyclist.
I would, like many others, like to see that this junction is updated to make it safe for everyone.
Car parking in Skipton causes lots of problems, as there is a shortage of parking. Residential areas are full with people parking for work, also along Gargrave Road, workers parking on the cycle route,
These are just some of the problems I wish raised as your councillor.
If I’m elected as your councillor, I will be here for the people of Skipton North Ward, it’s your Ward, have your say, and I will do everything possible to help.

Adrian has also made a video to tell you more about why he is standing. You can view it here: Adrian Lunn: video



Skipton South – Brian McDaid

Recently, our political landscape has been consumed by Brexit and whilst I understand the uncertainty and chaos is a concern to many, this campaign will be about focusing on our local community.
Skipton South is an area I know well, as I lived there for 5-years and my wife also lived in Greatwood.
I have spoken to many people in the area about their concerns, what they want to see from a local councillor – someone they know and someone they can trust to speak for them.
Another common theme is the desire to bring back the sense of community.
A strong community is vital for me. It is something that many feel has been forgotten in today’s society, so it is my priority to help bring it back and will be the foundation of my campaign, along with building on the Labour values of ensuring we all live in a fair and equal society.


Skipton West – Peter Madeley

Peter Madeley has represented Skipton West on Craven Council for the past five years. Over that time he has:

* worked closely with residents to set up active associations in the Broughton Road, Burnside, Carleton Park and Keighley Road areas

* led the campaign to make the canal towpath safe for pedestrians

* pressed the council and other bodies to keep the streets clean

* played a leading role in drawing up plans for major developments around the train station. He is now looking for your support to carry on this work.

Peter also represents the ward on Skipton Town Council alongside Alan Hickman, the current mayor. Together they have helped transform the way the local council operates, making it more efficient and better able to serve local people.


Sutton in Craven – John Pope

Since moving to Skipton in 2013 John has become an active member of the local Labour Party and a number of charities and community organisations
John was Chair of Barrowford Parish Council in Pendle for five years. He worked with Pendle MP Gordon Prentice on the 2010 election campaign. John and his wife Pen have three grown-up sons.
John taught IT in Higher Education and then moved into consultancy and training. He is now retired.
John believes that “by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone”. He says that Craven District Council should practice this!


West Craven – Geraldine Reardon

Geraldine says: “Rural communities can and do achieve amazing things by working together. I believe that rather than being punished by austerity the people of West Craven should be supported in providing safe, welcoming environments for all.” Geraldine is a retired trade union official and local councillor. In Settle she volunteers in community organisations and visits areas like West Craven following her interest in history, the arts and local politics. Here she sees how planning decisions put ‘affordable’ housing out of reach for many people – buyers and renters. Poor public transport limits access to work, education and essential services like health care, the bank and shopping. And regardless of what it says, Craven DC is failing to crack down on dog fouling. “I would hold regular surgeries for residents. People have told me: ‘we need someone to speak up’. I want West Craven to have the chance to vote Labour in this election.”


Upper Wharfedale – Virpi Kettu

I am 44 and lived in Craven for almost 5 years now. I am a digital media, design and film making professional and teacher. I was involved with Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and the Burn the Witch video for Radiohead. I am also very active in a local culture scene by organising the successful Skipton Girls Rock Camp with Selfa and as a founding member and director of Craven Arts(; A charity connecting audiences with local artist and creative people for the benefit of Craven area.
Before moving to England I was politically and culturally active in my native Finland and in Canada as dual citizen.
My aim is to support the inclusion of everyone in our communities securing healthcare services, improve public transport in the area and promote the local culture, education and creative industries. With my work in new media, experience in education and leading local community projects as a chair and founder of Craven Arts organisation, I can bring better social connectivity and new fresh ideas to the area.
I am very proud to be part of Skipton and Ripon Labour Party team of great candidates representing Labour values of fairness and inclusion. With honest politics and community supporting policies we can work towards ensuring good quality life for everyone.



Skipton West

Some of our district council candidates are also standing for Skipton Town Council where  all 16 seats are subject to election this year. We previously had two councillors – Peter Madeley and Alan Hickman – representing Skipton West. Both are seeking re-election. In addition, local residents John Pope and Gerardo Iannaccone are seeking to join them on the other two seats in Skipton West. You can read more about Peter, John and Gerardo above. Here are details about Alan

Alan Hickman – Skipton Town Council candidate

Alan lives in Skipton and has represented Skipton West on the town council for the past five years. He is currently the Mayor of Skipton – the town’s first Labour Mayor. He is a Christian Socialist and supports many local organisations including the Fair Trade Initiative and Refugee Support Group. He made the Pupil Referral Service his Mayoral Charity and his fund raising activities included skydiving off the East Yorkshire coast.

Skipton South

In Skipton South our district candidate Brian McDaid is also standing for the town council as are mother and daughter Elizabeth Sessford and Claire Ling. Elizabeth and Claire have made a video to tell you why they are standing as had Brian:  you can view them here:

Elizabeth and Claire; the video

Brian McDaid; the video

Skipton North

Virpi Kettu is our candidate in Skipton North – you can read more about her above.