Author Archives: skiptonriponlabour

Janet Oxley

Janet Oxley


Former Craven District Councillor Janet Oxley has died at the age of 79.

Janet was a Labour member for Skipton East in the 1990s before stepping down in due to ill health at the 1999 elections. She subsequently moved to join her family in Peterborough, where she died peacefully at home on January 28.

Her former party colleague Margaret Billing paid this tribute: “We were friends and comrades- in-arms all through the Thatcher years and very active in supporting the miners, while before and during that also initiating and taking part in anti-nuclear activities whenever we could.

“On the local scene, Janet was unceasing in fighting for better conditions on behalf of low paid people, especially in relation to our council housing stock which, although we were glad to have it, had been allowed to deteriorate to a very poor state. People who lived in Airey houses before our intensive programme of rebuilding the Greatwood and Horseclose Estate and putting new kitchens and bathroooms in the rest of our housing stock, getting rid of mould and damp, will remember her support for the programme and her efforts to ensure that homeless people were provided for.

“For me personally, she was with Chris (Rose) an ever-supportive and active campaigner, especially at election times. Indeed, she represented the best of the Labour Party in so many ways and we were all sorry to see her go when her ill health necessitated her being nearer her family. I shall always remember her with fondness and admiration for the steadfast person she was.”


Skipton Labour backs national rail campaign

Local Labour activists were up and about early on January 2 as rail commuters returned to work to face the latest rail fare hike.

Party members in Skipton joined Labour campaigners across the country handing out copies of the party’s ‘Daily Squeeze’ leaflets exposing the Tory rail rip off.

There was a positive response from many commuters at Skipton station to the publication that set out Labour’s plans for public ownership of the railways as well as revealing that train ticket prices are up by an average of 36 per cent since the Tories came to power. Labour’s campaign featured prominent across the news outlets throughout the day.Skipton station1.jpg

Skipton and Ripon Labour back party’s national campaign days

Labour Party members were out in force in Skipton and Ripon on the  Saturday after the 2018 Party Conference and the weekend after the Budget. 

Following the party conference  we handed out leaflets to shoppers as part of Labour’s post conference national campaign day.  The aim was to promote the policies to rebuild Britain that had been set out at conference. These focussed on the need for high wage, high skilled jobs; stronger communities, including a commitment to 10,000 extra police officers; and rebuilding public services with greater resources for the NHS.

 We got a really positive response from people who were keen to know about Labour’s plans to address the problems that the government ignores as it fights its internal battles over Brexit.

 Earlier the local party had been represented at the conference in Liverpool by Skipton member Alan Hickman and Ripon young member Tyler Reeton.  The two of them took part in the lengthy meeting during conference that drew up the motion on Brexit. They  supported a call from the local party for a general election if the final Brexit deal cannot be agreed by parliament, and failing that a people’s vote. The party will continue its campaign work over the coming months.

A few weeks later we were out again as part of the national party’s post Budget campaign day. This time we took our campaign direct to the door step leafletting on the Greatwood estate promoting the party’s message that whilst the Tories say austerity is coming to an end that is not the way it looks to most working people.


campaigning in Skipton

And in Ripon


 Delivering our post Budget message on the Greatwood estate in Skipton.

Labour a growing force says new Chair


Nick Parker

Skipton and Ripon Labour Party has a new Chair. Nick Parker, 31, who lives and works in Skipton, was elected following the annual meeting of the party held in Ripon on May 15.

He succeeds Laura Dinning from Ripon who led the party for the previous three years.

Nick was brought up in Skipton and attended what is now Settle College. After working as a civil servant in Bradford for six years, he went to Leeds University as a mature student to study International History and Politics, graduating in 2017. He intends to continue his studies at postgraduate level in the near future.

Nick said: “It is a privilege to chair the local Labour Party at a time when it is growing in strength. We now have almost 900 members across the constituency and increased our vote to a significant extent in last year’s general election.

“We built on that performance in the recent local elections and I look forward to assisting the party in becoming a much greater force in local politics.”

“I am delighted that Labour councillor Alan Hickman is the new mayor of Skipton and Peter Madeley his deputy. I am also proud of the fact that Peter was recently invited to attend one of this summer’s Royal Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace –that is real recognition of the work that he has done for the town.

“I am a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, and believe that under his leadership we can win the next general election.”

The annual meeting of the constituency party also elected Alan Hickman as its delegate to the party’s annual conference to be held in Liverpool in September. He will be joined by Tyler Reeton, from Ripon, who was elected as the constituency youth delegate.

Craven District Election Results 2018

The results are now in for the Craven District Elections held on May 3, 2018. The full details can be found on the council website at Craven Election Results May 2018

None of the seats contested this time was previously held by Labour and whilst we did not gain any seats, overall we can be pleased with our performance.

Joe Lord did particularly well in Settle and Ribblebanks where he cut a 400 Conservative majority in 2014 to just 64 this time.

Howard Matthew also did well in Bentham turning a 464 Conservative majority in 2014 to 128 this time.

Our vote went up in Gargrave and Malhamdale, in Glusburn, in Ingleton and Clapham and our share of the vote was up in Sutton-in Craven, off setting slight falls in Penyghent and Hellifield. The Aire Valley result, where we did not do as well as we hoped,  was complicated by the fact that the Greens who took the other seat in the ward in a by election last year did not stand  in 2014.

Following the election Labour remains the principal opposition to the Tories in Craven and we will be holding the Conservative administration to account at a  time when local services continue to face the impact of cuts imposed by central government.






Introducing our team for Craven District Elections 2018

Labour is the only party contesting all nine seats that are up for election on Craven District Council on  3 May 2018

This is our team


Brian McDaid (2)

Brian McDaid

Brian has lived in the Craven area for 13 years and been a senior trade union officer for more than ten years. He represents workers in the finance sector across the UK employed by Skipton Building Society and Computershare (previously HML).
He is a parent governor for Brooklands Community Special School and for The Craven Pupil Referral Service (PRS).
He says: “I am passionate about representing people and communities and ensuring everyone is treated fairly and equally. I promise that as a local councillor I will hold regular surgeries to hear the views of residents. I believe that as a community we need to protect the environment. The council can play its part, for instance through providing mini-recycling centres. I also want more done by both the council and dog owners to deal with the problem of dog mess on our streets.”




John Howard Matthew

Howard was born and brought up in Bentham returning six years ago. He has worked both in local government and the voluntary sector and has a broad experience of both committee work and service delivery.
He has worked closely with the health service, local government officers, councillors, the police and is concerned about the gradual erosion of public services.
He says: “I firmly believe that district councillors should be locally focused and I am keen to provide a voice for those views that are stifled by the one party domination of the district council.
Younger families often feel the effect of poorer working conditions and lack of access to suitable employment. The farming community can be isolated and their problems ignored. It is these groups which need particular support to make our district a stronger and more vibrant community.”


Nick Parker (2)

Nick Parker

Nick grew up in Skipton and attended what is now Settle College. After six years working as a civil servant in Bradford, he went to university as an adult student and obtained a first class degree in International History and Politics from Leeds University. Now 31, Nick lives and works in Skipton.

He says: “I am a strong believer in civic activism and the potential that politics and the Labour Party have to improve people’s lives. I have a lot of experience in representing and assisting the public and will be assiduous in meeting residents, understanding their concerns, and seeking to find solutions.” He is keen to promote local business alongside improved public services and affordable housing. His particular concern is poor public transport within the ward, with an infrequent bus service between Gargrave and Malham and few trains stopping at Gargrave.




Paul Routledge
Paul Routledge is a journalist living and working in Glusburn ward, where he’s been resident for ten years.
A proud Yorkshireman by birth, he says “If elected, I will work hard to represent the interests of the people of Glusburn and Crosshills.
“Top of my agenda would be the problem of traffic through the village, and the weak enforcement of speed limits by the authorities who fail to live up to their responsibilities.
“I’m also keen to ensure that we sustain proper funding for village facilities, particularly Glusburn Park, which is such a fine amenity for local people.”


John Pope

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!



Janine Bickerstaff

Janine is a working mum with two children at Ingleton Primary School. She enjoys the local countryside as a family and feels very lucky to live in such a beautiful place. One of the reasons she loves living here is being part of a community with such great community spirit; there are an amazing number of voluntary organisations in the area – and she help out with local groups whenever she can. She says: “I’ve seen the services in the area dwindle in recent years and feel it shouldn’t always be expected that volunteers will fill the gaps when funding is withdrawn. I’ve always voted Labour and wanted people to have the chance to vote Labour in these elections.”


Virpi Kettu

Virpi Kettu

Virpi, 43, is a digital media, design and film making professional. She was involved with Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and the Burn the Witch video for Radiohead. She is 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 artists and creative people.
Before moving to England she was politically and culturally active in her native Finland and in Canada as a dual citizen. She is passionate about championing inclusion and fairness for all ages and abilities in the society.
Virpi said: “In my life I have learned a lot about politics and communities by living in different countries and I want to have the chance to bring that experience to bear here for the local benefit.”



Joe face (2)

Simon Joe Lord

Joe has lived in Giggleswick and Settle for most of his life. He is currently a teacher at Giggleswick Primary School and holds a national position in the National Education Union (the new union created from an amalgamation of two of the country’s largest teaching unions). Formerly a youth worker in the area, he is keen to support youth provision, and has been an active supporter of the Settle Skate Park project. He was first elected to Settle Town Council in 2008, and has served two terms as Town Mayor. Joe says: “I am passionate about representing this area, and will work with residents, organisations, and businesses to ensure a sustainable and vibrant community for future generations. This is a fantastic place to live and work, and I will be a strong and vocal advocate on the District Council.”



Tony Alderson Photo

Tony Alderson

Tony Alderson, 51, lives in Skipton with his wife, Rano, and pet rabbit, Bertie. He moved to the area from his native north-east two years ago to enjoy the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales. Tony is a Chemical Engineer, working for a multi-national engineering consultancy where he focusses on the development of low-carbon energy. Tony enjoys walking and cycling and is an avid lover of nature, being a supporter of several wildlife charities. Tony has always had a strong interest in politics, and recently studied to obtain a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics with the Open University, an institution that he greatly admires. Tony believes that we are privileged to live in such a beautiful part of the country, and that it is our responsibility to ensure that it is preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Nine members of Ripon branch contest seats in Harrogate Borough Elections

Nine members of Ripon branch are standing for election to Harrogate Borough Council in the May 3 elections.

You can see their election leaflet below.

Unlike Craven, where only some seats are subject to election this year, in Harrogate all seats are being contested on May 3. Part of borough falls within the Harrogate parliamentary constituency, and members of our sister party in Harrogate will be contesting those seats. The rest is in our constituency and this is where our Ripon branch members are concentrating their efforts. Good luck to them.

Ripon leaflet

A celebration of the life of Jan Gordon

The Labour Party was well represented at the service to celebrate the life of Jan Gordon that was held at a packed Christ Church Skipton on Monday 9 April 2018.

Jan was a former Skipton town councillor, Craven district councillor and secretary of the Skipton branch of the Labour Party. Her successors who were present at the service were all struck by the thought that they were following in the footsteps of a truly remarkable woman. For as Jan’s daughter Harriet Dunlop made clear in her moving eulogy, there was so much more to Jan’s life than those of us who only knew her briefly could ever have imagined. And linking it all was a tremendous sense of  fun and rebellion. Jan was at home on the Sussex Downs as she was in the Yorkshire Dales. She belonged to so many groups and several churches and made friends wherever she went. Chris Rose spoke of Jan’s contribution to the Labour Party and her role as a local councillor. At a time when many of us are devoting our energies to the district election campaign it was good to be reminded of the remarkable people went before us and to celebrate the life of one of the most remarkable of them all.

The cover of the order of service at the celebration of Jan Gordon’s life.