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.

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.