Author Archives: skiptonriponlabour

Labour is only party to contest all nine seats in Craven District Elections 2018

Labour is the only political party to contest all nine seats on Craven District Council that are up for election on May 3.

This means that voters across Craven, where there are elections, will have the opportunity not just to show their opposition to the eight years of austerity that have seen services cut whilst council taxes have soared, but will also be able to demonstrate their support for Labour’s positive alternative.

Our candidates make the following pledges to voters:

Labour will:
• Fight council secrecy and promote accountability.
• See that planning decisions are based on the needs of the community not the building companies.
• Ensure vital community services are given council backing.
• Work to attract well-paid jobs, especially for young people.
• Challenge the reduced police presence across the area.
• Encourage a vibrant tourism sector.

Whether you live in one of the wards where there are elections or not, you can help Labour’s campaign.

To find out how contact us on

Council Elections 2018

There are elections on  3 May  2018 in both councils covered by this constituency. Harrogate Borough Council is holding elections in all wards, including the 12 in this constituency. Craven District Council, which is entirely within the constituency, is holding elections in nine wards.

Labour will be seeking to build on our increased vote in the 2017 general election with a  strong and vigorous campaign, sending a clear message that eight years of austerity have done real damage to local communities and that it is time for a change.

Skipton North by election result

Despite  having a great candidate, excellent campaign materials and some hard work by party members, sadly Virpi Kettu  came third in the Skipton North by election with 195 votes.

The winner was Independent Anthony Barrett, with 333 votes, Tory Susan Broadhead came second with 244 votes and the Green  Claire Nash came last with 156.

The turnout was 32 per cent – very high for a town council by election, prompted perhaps by our high profile campaign.

Though we hoped to do better this was still a good achievement for Labour in a ward that  has not previously been particularly good for us.

Onwards now to the district elections on May 3.

We’ll be announcing our candidates shortly and looking forward to a strong campaign.


Virpi Kettu

Labour has chosen local resident Virpi Kettu as its candidate in the Skipton North council by election to be held on 22 March 2018.

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 for the benefit of Craven area.
Virpi lives and works in the Skipton North ward for and is an active member of the Skipton Labour party.
Before moving to England she has been 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 it would be truly remarkable to have the chance to bring that experience to bear here for the local benefit.

“Skipton is famous as a great place to live, and I aspire to develop on that splendid reputation with collaboration and listening to the local residents.
“The town council has an important role to play in the life of the community. Labour members of the town council Peter Madeley and deputy mayor Alan Hickman are doing a good job for the people of the town and I hope to join them and strengthen the Skipton North Ward and Skipton Town Council with a new voice.”

Virpi can be contacted at



Local councillors working with the community all year round

As part of the commitment of our local councillors in Skipton to work with the community we have distributed this calendar with useful contact numbers as well as details on how to get in touch with the local councillors to all residents in the Skipton West ward.

With best wishes to all for 2018.

Labour councillors working for you all year round

Skipton Town Hall cafe December 2 2017

Thanks to all party members who helped to run the café at Skipton Town Hall on Saturday December 2, 2017; one of our regular events to help engage with local residents, promote the party and do a bit to raise funds.  Here are some photos of those taking part.

Town councillor Alan Hickman on duty

Coun. Peter Madeley gets to work in the kitchen

Working in the kitchen: Geraldine Reardon, Peter Madeley and Chris Rose

Busy autumn for local Labour

The Skipton and Ripon Labour Party has been busy over the past few months.

On November 25 we took part in Labour’s national campaign day, distributing post Budget leaflets in both Skipton and Ripon high streets. There was a very positive response, showing that even here people are now seeing through the Tories.  Here’s a video Labour produced for the campaign day. Labour’s Budget campaign video

Earlier, on November 17, the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Skipton branch was our local MEP Richard Corbett, who is now the leader of the Labour Group in the European Parliament. He knows far more about Brexit than many of the so-called experts and forensically exposed the chaos and contradictions of the Government’s failing negotiations. Richard blogs at Richard Corbett MEP .

We also held a fund-raising dinner on October 6 with guest speaker  John Grogan, our new neighbouring MP from Keighley.  John, who took the seat for Labour in the general election with a majority of just a few hundred, gratefully acknowledged the support that he had had from Skipton members in his election campaign. This is John’s official website John Grogan MP

Election result June 8 2017

On June 8 Labour increased its share of the vote in the Skipton and Ripon constituency by almost 11 per cent . Our vote rose from almost 10,000 in 2015 to 16,440 today.

The Tories still have a majority of almost 20,000 but the result, combined with recent good performances in local elections and the great rise in membership since 2015 shows that Labour is a growing force in what has for many years been a Tory stronghold. Labour has made its presence felt in some of the more remote Dales villages during the election campaing and we polled strongly in places like Skipton.  The Greens scarcely benefited from their pact with the Lib Dems, polling fewer votes than the Lib Dems did in 2015 and only just improving on their own performance in that election.  There was an increase in the turnout by 4,000 to 58,333 and the Tories increased their share of the vote by  seven per cent but we had the greater percentage gain and can look forward to building on this over the coming months and years, and showing that Labour is a real force in this area.  The full result was:

Green Party

The Yorkshire Party

Julian SMITH
The Conservative Party
36425 (ELECTED)

Labour Party

Turnout: 74.69%

Thanks to all who helped in the campaign – and also to those who helped in neighbouring – more marginal – constituencies.




Feature article in the Craven Herald

The current edition of the Craven Herald (Thursday 1 June) includes articles by all the candidates standing for Skipton and Ripon in the General Election. The on line edition does not appear to include these so for the benefit of those of you who have bought the paper here is the article by Labour candidate Alan Woodhead.

“Voters in Skipton and Ripon have a clear choice.  Either stick with an MP who, when first elected, promised to speak up for local people but now just follows his party line, or opt for a fresh start with Labour.

Recent years have been difficult for most people. Wages fail to keep pace with rising prices. Council services have been cut to the bone. Libraries, once a core service, now rely on volunteers. Social care is in crisis. But instead of backing local people your MP voted to cut council funding six times since 2010. Recently he even backed a measure which would see school funding cut by £400 per pupil, on average. He talks of ‘strong and stable’ leadership but moves with the prevailing wind – backing ‘remain’ in the referendum but now arguing for exit, not just from EU institutions, but from the single market which has been a boon to many exporters.

There is another way. Labour’s fully costed manifesto makes commitments to fund the NHS, tackle the social care crisis, protect living standards, build much needed houses and eliminate student fees that have burdened a generation with debt. Labour will also take back control of Rail, Water and the Royal Mail.

Labour would also protect pensioners. As the Conservatives abandon their commitments to older people, Labour will guarantee the state pension ‘triple lock’ throughout the next Parliament. The Winter Fuel Allowance and free bus passes will also be guaranteed as universal benefits.  And there will be no ‘dementia tax’ under Labour.

The gap between rich and poor is getting wider. Salaries of company bosses have rocketed while many workers struggle to manage on insecure contracts. Labour’s plans would see no increase in income tax for anyone earning below £80,000, with only a modest, affordable, increase for top earners. VAT and National Insurance rates would not change, but we would return company taxation to a reasonable level.

The Tories now claim to be on the side of workers. But look at their record.  They spent the 1980s and 1990s cutting back on workplace rights and continued their assault in the last Parliament with their Trade Union Act. Workers now find it hard to enforce remaining rights because they have to pay unaffordable fees if they take their boss to a tribunal.

Some voters might be tempted to turn to one of the minor parties. But if you want a Yorkshireman to represent you I was born and brought up in Middlesbrough and have lived just outside Ripon for nearly 30 years. And as for the Greens, who came last in 2015, their candidate might sound reasonable, but remember the local Greens have done a behind closed doors deal with the Lib Dems – the party that backed the Tories in the coalition government of 2010-2015. These two parties are treating their voters like chips to be swapped in a game. If the local Greens genuinely wanted to defeat the Tories they would have stood aside for Labour.”