My Barnoldswick and Earby Times, Colne Times and Nelson Leader Column from 3rd May 2019...
Today will see the counting of votes from the yesterday’s local elections. It is too early to know who will have won or who will control Pendle Borough Council over the year ahead. However, I want to thank all those who put themselves forward as candidates. Being a local councillor is hard work and like all political roles, you need a thick skin. But it is also a great opportunity to work to improve the area in which you live. Congratulations to all the successful candidates, who will now be responsible for deciding on a number of issues that affect our daily lives.
As most people voting yesterday will be aware, the local election results won’t affect Brexit. MPs like me must bear responsibility for failing to deliver the referendum outcome on time. Sadly, a number of hard-working, effective Councillors may have lost their seats through no fault of their own as people understandably express their frustration over what’s happening. I continue to do what I can to see us leave the EU, with or without a deal, as soon as possible.
This year, Pendle was one of a number of areas where trials were being conducted to try and make our local democracy more secure from electoral fraud. This included the need to show proper ID when voting and greater checks on postal votes too. I want to put on record my thanks to the team at Pendle Borough Council for delivering the trial and conducting the local elections so smoothly.
It is fair to say that concerns about how elections are conducted in Pendle are widespread and of longstanding, something that I have repeatedly warned undermines confidence in the system. The independent Electoral Commission will be studying and reporting on the trial and I hope we will have played our part in helping improve and restore faith in the political system.
Finally, I’m really looking forward to a busy weekend with a concert at Colne Muni, the Higham Fair and other events, as well as my regular surgery appointments. I wish readers an enjoyable bank holiday weekend, whatever you’re up to.