Selected news items concerning Labour Party activists in Pendle who are working on your behalf.

Feed Back!

If you want to comment on articles appearing on this web site you can contact us by using the information on the contact page above (How to contact Pendle Labour Party).

Last updated:
Friday 24 October, 2014

Friday 24 October 2014
Child Poverty Nelson Leader/Colne Times series

  Responding to the front page report in today’s publications, Malcolm Birk Vice President of Pendle Labour Party has written a letter for publication to the editor. A copy of the text is reproduced below:

Your recent front page report commendably brought to attention the fact that in Pendle 33% of children are living in poverty, after housing costs are taken into account. I am sure that most readers will find this figure shocking. The level of untold and largely unrecognised suffering going on around us is hard to contemplate.

The members of Pendle Labour Party continue to campaign for a fairer and more equal society. The actions of the current government have exacerbated inequality by giving tax cuts to the rich whilst driving down wages for the majority. Also, by not dealing with the chronic lack of affordable housing, the government has forced housing costs up for most people. As a result of their actions, the number of working households living below the bread-line has grown and grown.

There is another way. The Labour Party have set out in detail how they will reduce inequality and child poverty and stop the powerful vested interests at large in the country from exploiting people and fuelling the divide in our nation. These measures include freezing energy bills, introducing a lower 10p tax rate, new controls on rents and tenancies, increasing the minimum wage and banning exploitative zero-hours contracts. We would like to ask members of the public to join with us in this fight against the poverty in our midst.
Friday 24 October 2014
Pendle Tory Councillors forced to withdraw stray dog tax

The Labour Leader on Pendle Council has forced Tory run Pendle Council to withdraw ill-thought plans to increase the stray dog fee to £100 with effect from 1 January 2015.  

Cllr Iqbal said “I want to dedicate this forced U-turn by the Tory Councillors to people power in Pendle. This was a ‘rabbit out of the hat’ tactic last month by Cllr Cooney and his Tory party. However, they have tonight been forced to back down and withdraw this increase. They should realise that we will not stand by and let them introduce back door taxes against the wishes of people"
Wednesday 15 October 2014
Shocked and dismayed by Lord Freud’s Comments - Pendle CLP Disability Officer, Wayne Blackburn

  Pendle CLP Disability Officer, Wayne Blackburn, commenting on the remarks made by Lord Freud concerning paying disabled people as little as £2 per hour said:

“I am shocked and dismayed by Lord Freud's comments. To suggest that some disabled people ‘are not worth the full wage’ once again proves how out of touch the Conservatives truly are.

“Disabled people have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and have proven time and again that they can contribute immensely to society. It is disgraceful that a Government Minister would contemplate something so ignorant and derogatory.

“These views have no place in modern society and, as a disabled man myself, I am insulted by the suggestion that I should not be paid as much as a non-disabled person."

Mark Porter, President of Pendle CLP added:

"On top of the bedroom tax which has had a huge detrimental impact on disabled people, we now have one of the welfare ministers that was responsible suggesting that disabled people are not worthy of equal status when it comes to earning potential.

“Printable words fail me, how in today's society can any person, let alone a government minister, think that such a view is acceptable. It is derogatory and Lord Freud should take the only real option open to him and that is to resign with immediate effect"
08 October 2014
Councillor calls for action on Sackville Street area of Brierfield
At last night’s meeting of Brierfield & Reedley Area Committee (7 October) Brierfield Cllr Nawaz Ahmed called for urgent action to improve the condition of the Sackville Street part of the Railway Street Regeneration Area. Cllr Ahmed said:  

“There are many empty properties around Sackville Street and Railway Terrace and the condition of the area is appalling. Houses are boarded up, trees are growing in back gardens, causing garden walls to leaning and these could collapse at any time. Many of the gardens of houses which are boarded up are full of rubbish, and damp rising from these houses is causing further damp to neighbouring properties.

“To the front of Railway Terrace there is land which is very untidy, belonging to an investor. We have to make sure that the owner of this land is held responsible for keeping this area clean and tidy.

“Old Railway Yard, facing Railway Terrace is an eyesore and requires immediate attention. “Environmental Visual Audits are carried out on a monthly basis, but they have failed to address these problems.

“The condition of each property makes it unsuitable for living and actually dangerous and therefore a threat to the health of each resident. “The majority of household members have no financial means to regenerate their homes.

” Cllr Ahmed tabled the following five-point resolution, which was unanimously agreed by the Committee:

  1. To declare this area as an “Action Area”
  2. To invite the Executive for a neighbourhood walk (site visit) together with the ward councillors, residents and the Health and Environmental team.
  3. If these houses are found unfit for living then the residents need to be given the options which were given to the residents of Clitheroe Road area.
  4. Residents should be moved to a safe living location i.e. Holden Road, Albert Street Nelson, Mousley Street, Nelson.
  5. Proceeds from the sales of Holden Rd, Quaker Heights, Lob Lane Mills Flats, Improvement for sale schemes and 72 – 80 Burnley Rd should be kept in Brierfield for the improvement of the Railway Street Corridor.

Tuesday 07 October 2014
Tory/Lib Dem Councillors refuse to scrap ‘Garden Tax’ in Pendle

  Reedley Ward Labour Councillor, Yasser Iqbal presented a motion to the full council meeting in Pendle asking that the £25 per bin ‘Garden Tax’ introduced by the Conservative led Council be scrapped immediately. However, the motion was defeated with Tory and Lib Dem Councillors joining forces.

Cllr Iqbal, Leader of the Labour Group said

“Over the last 8 months since this charge was introduced by the Tory leadership, I have been inundated with complaints from residents who feel that this is a back-door increase in Council Tax by the Tory Councillors.

“Why should people living across Pendle be forced to pay this ‘Garden Tax’? It is the case that only 25% of eligible households have signed up for this scheme and I am disappointed but not surprised at the Conservative party and their Liberal colleagues refusing to axe the Garden Tax”.
Tuesday 07 October 2014
Labour demands that the Pendle MP supports the end of the ‘Bedroom Tax’

Labour Councillors have publicly criticised Andrew Stephenson MP over his continued support of the ‘Bedroom Tax’ and a demand has been made through the full Council meeting that he stand up for disabled, elderly residents who are struggling to pay the ‘Bedroom Tax’ imposed by the Tory led government.  

At the full Council meeting a few days ago, Labour Councillor Robert Allen moved a motion asking that the MP votes to scrap the bedroom tax and not to do as the Tory whips instruct him to do.

Cllr Allen said

“It was ironic that not a single Tory Councillor spoke to defend their colleague, Andrew Stephenson but true to form, they voted against my motion. However, this motion was carried with a majority of Councillors demanding that the MP stand up for Pendle residents. “We wait with anticipation to see what he will do”.
Monday 06 October 2014
Outrage at Murder of Alan Henning

Pendle Labour County Councillors Azhar Ali and Mohammed Iqbal today publicly condemned the murder of aid worker Alan Henning from Salford by ISIS.

Cllr Ali and Cllr Iqbal who signed an open letter 2 weeks ago in a national newspaper were shocked at the murder by people claiming to be Muslims. Cllr Ali said "I am very angry that someone who went out to help people in Syria as a human being was kidnapped and then murdered by people using Islam as a cover.

I would ask that our government makes every effort to bring Alan's killers to justice in the international criminal court. These people are not Muslims but murderers!”

Web Developer’s comment: A similar item was posted on this website on 22 September calling on the kidnappers of Alan Henning to release the aid worker unharmed. The item was sent to the Nelson/Leader/Colne Times series and Lancashire Telegraph for publication. To the best of my understanding they chose not to publish it.

Saturday 27 September 2014
Nelson Leader Series Publication

Pendle Labour Party have paid for a 4 page spread in the Nelson Leader/Colne Times series of publications.

The initial feedback from readers has been encouraging and welcoming of the Labour Party's proposals. If you have been unable to purchase a copy you can download a PDF copy (1.13 MB) of the spread here.
Monday 22 September 2014
Not In My Name - Pendle Councillors join with Muslim Leaders nationwide to urge ISIS to release UK hostage

Labour Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, and the Leader of the Labour Group on Pendle Council, Cty Cllr Mohammed Iqbal, joined dozens of imams and other Muslim community leaders in a letter to the Independent last week calling on the kidnappers of Alan Henning to release the aid worker unharmed or commit the “worst condemnable sin” against Islam.  

They also express their horror and revulsion at the senseless murder of David Haines.

Cllr Ali said:

“The letter pleads with those holding the British hostage to accept that he was on a mission to Syria to help innocent civilians, and to see the errors of their ways.

“A social media campaign has been launched by the British charity Active Change Foundation. Anyone can add their name to the list and show their support by using the #NotInMyName hashtag.”
Friday 19 September 2014
Give the English Regions a voice – Azhar Ali

  Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Pendle County Councillor Azhar Ali has today welcomed the decision of the Scottish people who voted 'No' and will remain in the United Kingdom.

Azhar Ali said

"I am delighted that Scotland will remain in the United Kingdom and will get more powers from Westminster, but it is now the time to have a national debate on giving the English a voice on transferring powers away from London and Westminster to local communities and regions.

"Over recent years the North/South gap has grown with London and the South East benefitting from investment whilst places like Pendle and East Lancashire have been hit by over £400 million of Conservative cuts.

“It's clear, that if it is good enough for Scotland to be given more powers, then it's also time that the English regions had the same powers too."
Tuesday 09 September 2014
Pendle MP “letting down his poorest constituents”

Pendle’s MP was slammed today for choosing his Party before his constituents in a key vote in the House of Commons last week.

In a vote on a Bill calling for major exemptions to the Bedroom Tax, Andrew Stephenson voted to keep the current policy. But with Labour promising to repeal the tax, the Government was roundly defeated, as Lib Dem and even some Conservative MPs jumped ship.

Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle, Azhar Ali, commented: “Andrew Stephenson continues to let down his constituents by supporting this failed legislation, which hits some of the most vulnerable in our community. His dogged devotion to the Tory Party line will keep him in favour down in Westminster, but will win him few friends in Pendle, where hundreds of people have been caught by this Tax.

“The Department of Work & Pension’s own analysis of the policy in July showed that it wasn’t working, with only 4.5% of tenants being able to move into a smaller home, and thousands being forced into ‘heat or eat’ financial hardship.

“As a result of policies like this, combining incompetence with unfairness, the coalition is falling apart. Even Lib Dem ministers are voting against the Government now, despite having been co-architects of the Bedroom Tax policy.”

Nelson resident Wayne Blackburn, added

“The Bedroom Tax has been a disaster for disabled people like myself, with many facing hardship and difficulties because of this hated policy. Disabled people need MPs who’ll stand up for us and commit to scrap it. Whilst Friday's vote was a welcome one, we must continue to push for an end to the Bedroom Tax."
Thursday 04 September 2014
Wanted - A fairer way for Pendle's young people

  Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, came to Barrowford today to to visit Standel Dawman, a successful local manufacturer of electric golf trolleys. He was joined by Labour's Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, the Principal of Nelson & Colne College, Amanda Melton, and Phil Kyle, Managing Director of Standel Dawman.

Chuka said: "It was great to meet apprentices from across Pendle who are studying at Nelson & Colne College."

Azhar Ali added: "It's fantastic to see so many of our young people starting out in manufacturing. However far more needs to be done to bring higher quality, well-paid manufacturing jobs to Pendle. Too many of our young people are being exploited on zero-hours contracts.

"A future Labour government has committed to end this outdated Victorian practice."
Tuesday 02 September 2014
Azhar Ali visits Nelson Fire and Rescue Station

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate, Azhar Ali, visited Nelson’s Bradley Road Fire Station on 28 August to discuss key issues as part of his Lancashire County Council role as Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing.  

Cllr Ali talked to a number of fire and rescue staff about their community safety roles and their close working with social services.

He said: “I am massively impressed with the dedication of the Lancashire Fire and Rescue staff, and the quality of the equipment that they have available.

“But I am deeply concerned about how Tory government cuts to Lancashire will affect the Fire And Rescue Service’s ability to carry out its work over the next few years.”

Photograph (Left to right): Former Pendle Mayor George Adam, Station Manager Denise Odgers, Cllr Ali, Nelson Cllr Yvonne Tennant, Firefighters Shabaz Shah and Ian Donohue, and Acting Crew Manager Dave Harris

Wednesday 06 August 2014
Response to letters in local press attacking Azhar Ali

  Azhar Ali has written to the local press in response to recent attacks the content of the letter is produced below:

ver recent weeks there have been a few letters questioning my record on the NHS so I would like to take the opportunity to put the record straight.

I am proud of the work I did in the NHS primarily as a non-executive director and then as Chairman of Burnley NHS Trust, as well as currently chairing the Lancashire Health & Wellbeing board.

When I became Chair (Burnley NHS Trust) we were rated as a one star Hospital Trust and under my leadership we went to the highest rating of 3 stars with a record number of doctors and nurses, huge investment in infrastructure including a new MRI scanner and high staff morale.

When the new leadership of the East Lancashire NHS Trust decided to close the A&E at Burnley I led the campaign in Pendle holding public meetings and a public march against the closures.

I also led the campaign and fight to 'save' Pendle Community Hospital from Tory cuts with over 8000 signatures.

Our Tory MP was still living in the leafy suburbs of Cheshire and working out which seats he was going to apply for whilst we were fighting for vital services locally.

So instead of the MP hiding behind a Tory letter writing campaign I would challenge Mr Stephenson to a public debate on the ‘State Of The NHS'.

All he has to do is name the place and time and let's allow the public to decide whether the Tory agenda of privatising the NHS is the one they want - where you have to pay to see your GP or where you have an American style insurance scheme.

Azhar Ali
Labour Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle
Saturday 02 August 2014
Pressure growing for rolling stock for Todmorden Curve - Lancashire Telegraph

Shadow Rail Minister Lilian Greenwood toured East Lancashire’s railways stations yesterday to talk to communters as part of the campaign to improve rolling stock and train services in the area.  

The shadow minister visted Accrington, Nelson, and Burnley Manchester Road stations and discussed issues including frequency of services, reliability of trains, and a lack of trains on the Todmorden Curve Hyndburn and Haslingden MP, Graham Jones, joined her in Accrington, in Nelson she was joined by Labour’s parliamentary candidate Azhar Ali More>>
Monday 28 July 2014
Eid ul Fitr

Pendle Labour Party wishes you Eid Mubarak. May you be blessed with peace.
Tuesday 27 May 2014
Pendle Borough Council and EU Parliamentary Elections

Within Pendle, the Labour Party had the highest share of votes cast in both the borough and EU elections. Further information is available on the "Elections Page" of this web site.
Friday 16 May 2014
Tory and UKIP collusion!

  Commenting on Pendle Borough Council nominations, Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, Leader of the Labour Group said:

"It is interesting to read that the Tory party candidate in Bradley ward - Bernard Variam has signed the nomination paper of the UKIP candidate in the same ward - Tony Leather. This is a clear case of collusion between UKIP and the Tory party who allegedly say they disagree with UKIP policies but their own candidate supports the UKIP candidate".

Tuesday 13 May 2014 
Time has come for landlord licensing - Malcolm Birks

Speaking to a recent meeting of activists, Malcolm Birks, Vice-Chair of Pendle Labour Party said:

" A lot of people in Pendle have told my colleagues and I that they have a problem with landlords who don’t keep their properties up to a decent standard and also respond very slowly to problems. In many other local authorities, such as Burnley and Blackpool, licensing schemes have been used in targeted areas to try and address this problem. The blight of poor quality rental properties is clearly affecting many families up and down the country.

"Pendle Council’s own website describes all the advantages that such a scheme would have whilst admitting that there are no such schemes in place in Pendle. It says: ‘Poor housing management and low standards in the sector can lead to the failure of a local housing market. People leave the area, house prices fall, speculative landlords move in, and the local community becomes weaker. Low demand and antisocial behaviour can result in unsettled communities, along with other social and economic problems.’ Under a licensing scheme ‘bad landlords will be forced to improve their practices or leave the market".

The website also explains the advantages for landlords: ‘Licensing creates a level playing field, so decent landlords will not be undercut by an unscrupulous minority.’ Local Lib Dem and Tory councillors appear to have done precious little to address the issue of poor quality rental accommodation, so Pendle Labour Party has begun a campaign to ask Pendle Council to introduce a Selective Licensing Scheme in appropriate areas.

To join their campaign text 07792 992870. A petition has been started and momentum is building.

Friday 09 May 2014
Increase in Pendle residents claiming help with their rent – Mohammed Iqbal

Commenting on the number of residents claiming help with their rent, Leader of the labour group Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said:

“it is an absolute scandal that Pendle has the country’s third highest increase in the number of hard-working people being forced to claim help with their rent. We have a Tory and Lib-Dem council who returned to the government over £50,000 of available cash, which was intended to help families who are struggling to make ends meet due to the cost of living crisis. We have a Tory leader of the council whose has no control on this matter and should apologise to Pendle residents for his failure on this"

Labour candidate for the 2015 general election in Pendle, Azhar Ali added:

“An increase of 77% of people who are in work who are being forced to make claims for housing benefit, is a damming indictment of this Tory led government. I am meeting people from across Pendle who are suffering at the hands of the coalition government. We have a MP who is not prepared to stand up and fight for hard-working families but instead supports every cut and every attack against people in Pendle".
Saturday 03 May 2014
Potential plans to tender out GP out-of-hours service – Robert Oliver

Robert Oliver the Labour candidate in Boulsworth ward, responding to an article in the Colne Times dated 25 April 2014, has written to the newspaper, with the following comments:  

The ‘statutory duty to ensure that we receive value for money’ mentioned in the local Clinical Commissioning Group’s statement is a cover for the privatisation that Labour fought against when debating the Tories’ Health and Social Care bill two years ago (along with the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing). Sadly the bill was passed with the help of the Liberal Democrats, with only minor amendments.

Now chickens are coming home to roost and the local service provided by East Lancashire Medical Services will have to tender against the private providers. People’s views in the consultation will of course be taken into consideration. But how much will they count against the financial muscle of companies like Harmoni, already the largest provider of out of hours services in the country?

When Pendle Labour Party held a public meeting at the Ace Centre on this legislation in 2012, I was pleased to hear Dr Ions, Chair of the CCG, express his opposition to ‘out and out privatisation’. But will his statutory duties in fact allow him and his colleagues to oppose it?
Friday 02 May 2014
Michael Dugher meeting Colne residents

  Today (Friday 02 May), Michael Dughar joined Pendle Labour Party activists, including prospective parliamentary candidate Azhar Ali and local candidate Russell Tennant, for canvassing in Vivary Bridge, Colne.

Michael commented on the beautiful setting of the area surrounding Alkincoats Park and talked to local residents about their concerns. Many expressed worries regarding low wages in the area and problems with dogs with inconsiderate owners.

The Labour Party are working to address the current Cost of Living crisis and have a ten-point plan for improving conditions for the many and not just the few. More Information concerning the ten point plan
Thursday 01 May 2014
Labour’s response to unwarranted and divisive insinuations from Paul White.

Pendle Labour Party strictly follows the electoral commission code of conduct which is very clear in terms of guidance for campaigners. We do not see what additional power the local agreement brings to the table as every sentence starts with "I urge", there needs to be actual powers used by the Chief Executive and the Police.

It's actually ironic for the Tories to be using this as a smokescreen whilst accepting at the meeting that their national party is collating postal vote applications at a central address in Birmingham before sending them onto local councils.

In addition, both Lib Dem and Tory agents refused to accept an agreement which prevents voter intimidation outside polling stations which is common by their people

All Labour candidates have signed the national code of conduct without any hesitation as we have nothing to hide unlike certain Tory campaigners who were kicked out by the Lib Dems in Pendle for illegal activities.

Pendle Labour Party agent for Nelson, Robert Oliver said

"We attended the meeting and were honest with our comments and constructive. We were not seeking a cheap publicity stunt unlike the Tory party. The Chief Executive accepted that the one-sided piece of paper he has drafted has NO LEGAL POWERS. Pendle Labour Party is wanting the Tory party to defend their record in office both locally and nationally and here we have their election supremo trying to use a smokescreen.
Friday 25 April 2014
Labour vows to scrap ‘Garden Tax’ in Pendle

Pendle Labour Councillors have today made a public pledge that they will scrap the deeply unpopular ‘Garden Tax’ of £25.00 per bin if they take control of the Council in May 2014.  

Leader of the Labour group Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said

“At the budget meeting, Labour was the only party which refused to impose this back-door increase on over 25,000 households across Pendle. The Tory and Liberal coalition increased the Council Tax and chose this back-handed half-thought-up scheme to hit people in the pocket by an increase of 3% in their Council Tax bill. I make a public promise to scrap this tax on garden waste if Labour takes control of the Council after the local elections 22nd May 2014. This Tory led Council is out of touch with the struggles of Pendle's people.”

Cllr David Whalley added:

“I have been inundated with complaints from residents from across Pendle who are demanding answers from their Tory and Liberal Councillors, but they refuse to respond. I would ask people to vote for a party which was upfront with its budget instead of this Tory led coalition which is increasing taxes via the back door on hard-pressed families across our Borough.”

Pendle Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour Party, Azhar Ali, added:

“This coalition government has cut millions from Pendle Borough Council which has resulted in community centres and public buildings being closed. I am disappointed that the Tory MP is quiet over this issue. He needs to stand up against his Tory colleagues on the Council and support the Labour Group’s position. I and the people of Pendle wait with anticipation for him to stand up for Pendle.”
Tuesday 15 April 2014
Brierfield Town Hall & Community Centre Closure

Meeting: 23 April 2014 Time: 6.00-7.30pm Venue: Brierfield Community Centre, Colne Road, Brierfield

Brierfield Town Council is calling upon all Brierfield and Reedley residents to attend a meeting on the above date to discuss the future of two buildings in the town.

Mayor of Brierfield, Cllr Qamar Shahzad said:
“The town hall and community centre are two iconic buildings at the heart of our town. I would urge anyone interested in helping to save our buildings to attend the meeting."

Reedley ward borough councillor and Brierfield town councillor Mohammed Hanif said:
“It is a fact that the cuts imposed on Pendle council by the Tory government are forcing closures of community buildings. The people of Brierfield will come together to save our centre and town hall, the town council won't abandon Brierfield unlike the Tory councillors and government."
Thursday 10 April 2014
Cut in help for vulnerable residents

  Pendle Council has received a reduction of over 7% in Discretionary Housing Payment money given by the government to help residents struggling to pay their rent/council tax due to a shortfall based on their entitlement or as a direct result of the Bedroom Tax.

Bradley ward Labour Councillor, Mohammed Iqbal said:

“Due to the failure of the Tory Leader of the Council in spending the allocation in 2013/2014 where he ended up returning over £50,000 back to the government at the same time as rejecting a third of applications, his government has now further reduced the allocation for Pendle by 7% down to £131,000 for 2014/2015. I would demand that he wakes up out of his bubble and gives leadership in ensuring we don’t send any money back this year”.

Pendle Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour Party Azhar Ali added"

“I have promised to vote for the scrapping of the Bedroom Tax if Labour form the next government in 2015. It disappoints me that our Tory MP voted for the bedroom tax and now in partnership with the Tory run Council, they are sending money back to the government which is intended to help vulnerable, disabled, elderly residents”
Tuesday 08 April 2014
Nelson Commitee budget reduced by 40%

The Chairman of Nelson area committee has attacked the reduction in the budget for the area committee which has dropped from £112,100 in 2012/13 to £66.650 in 2014/15.  
Cllr Younis said:

"The budget has been used effectively across Nelson to fund much needed investment and help projects get off the ground. Projects such as the additions to the war memorial were deemed important by Nelson councillors but due to the severe cuts passed down by the Tory government and Tory led council, people across our town need to realise that a 40% cut is not fair!"

Monday 07 April 2014
Why Andrew Stephenson should call for Maria Miller’s resignation


Mark Porter, President of Pendle Labour Party has written to the Nelson Leader explaining why Andrew Stephenson MP should be calling for Maria Miller’s resignation regarding her over claimed expenses and subsequent behaviour.

Below is the content of the letter:

On his web site Mr Stephenson declares "When I was standing for election I said that I would only claim for what was necessary to do the job and not claim for things like food, TV's or furniture. The MP Expenses scandal broke down trust between the public and MP's and I'm determined to restore that trust. MP's also should lead by example during the tough economic times our country is in."

Most of us would agree that it is profoundly wrong for MPs to fiddle their expenses and to obstruct the bodies that are charged with ensuring that MPs comply with good practice.

John Mann MP complained about the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to the expenses Commissioner because he believed that she had manipulated her second home expenses allowance. The Commissioner concluded that she should pay back more than £40,000 to the taxpayer. A committee of MPs watered this down to £5,800, but criticised her attitude to the inquiry and asked her to apologise to the House of Commons.

Many people have registered their dismay at Maria Miller’s approach to the inquiry, and her glib apology to the House of Commons. It is remarkable that a Minister in a Government that is inflicting damaging cuts affecting thousands of vulnerable people felt able to stand up in Parliament and offer nothing more than a 30-second response for over-claiming thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money. It is even more remarkable that the Prime Minister wishes to draw a line under this affair.

This situation is a test for Mr Stephenson’s credibility, if he does not indicate that Maria Miller should resign, his web site statement will sound extremely hollow indeed.

Friday 04 April 2014
There is a choice – Malcolm Birks

Malcolm Birks Vice-Chair of Pendle Labour Party and Labour’s candidate in Horsfield has written to the Colne Times regarding the future of Trawden Community Centre.

Malcolm’s letter is reproduced below:

The sad news that Pendle Council is to abandon Trawden Community Centre (Colne Times 28/3) is yet another example of the impact of the cuts forced by central government upon local services. The grant to Pendle Council from central government has been cut by 60%. Local Tories and Lib Dems try to wash their hands of responsibility but the fact is that there is a choice and their parties are the ones making it. Cuts to local services, such as these, are not inevitable - there is another way.

This government believes it has enough money to give a tax cut to millionaires and to make sure that Banker’s bonuses and energy companies are not taxed further but when it comes to money for local services, from community halls to lunch clubs for the elderly, from green-bin collections to the upkeep of the roads, it says there is not enough money.

There is a choice. Great damage is currently being done and it is deeply unfair. We all need to speak out and force a different set of choices to be made.
Tuesday 01 April 2014
Questions over transparency of planning application

  The Labour Councillor for Vivary Bridge ward on Pendle Borough Council, Cllr Ian Tweedie has questioned the issue of Conservative Councillors voting on a major planning application by Libra Textiles to build a garden centre, café and farm shop in Colne.

Cllr Tweedie said

“It is fact that the parent company of Boundary Mills, Libra Textiles donated £20,000 less than 12 months ago to the local Conservative party and here we have a major planning application submitted upon which questions could be raised by a neutral person looking at this application if it is passed and the voting record of Tory Councillors .

I and the Labour group are not against employment opportunities in Pendle for our residents but the system needs to be a fair and transparent one.

Leader of the Labour group, Cllr Iqbal added

“ It is a matter for the Pendle Conservative party and their councillors what they do but £20,000 was a large donation and in such a short space of time the councillors have a big decision to make, the people of Pendle will be watching closely”
Thursday 28 March 2014
Opening of the new Urgent Care Centre at Burnley General Hospital

On Wednesday afternoon (26/03/2014) dignitaries gathered at Burnley General Hospital to mark the official opening of the new Urgent Care Centre.  

The plaque was unveiled by the Chair of East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, Professor Eileen Fairhurst who thanked everyone involved in particular the support the Trust has received from Lancashire County Council and asked Lancashire's Health & Wellbeing Board Chairman, Councillor Azhar Ali to say a few words.

Cllr Azhar Ali said:

"As a past Chair of the former Burnley NHS Trust, it was a privilege to speak at the opening of the Urgent Care Centre, but Burnley needed at least £25 Million in capital spending to modernise and develop a new surgical unit and a new ophthalmology unit coupled with modern accommodation for clinicians.”

He continued to warn, that the government was still pursuing plans for ‘super hospitals’ in Lancashire which could have a massive impact on the future of services in East Lancashire.
Monday 24 March 2014
Government Road Repair Fund “Too Little Too Late”

  Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle, and senior County Councillor, Azhar Ali has this week launched a staunch criticism of plans announced by the Government to release just £2.2 million of a £173 million pound pot to Lancashire in a move which he describes as “just another example of the Conservative’s leaving Lancashire and Pendle behind.”

The fund has been granted to Councils throughout England to tackle the entire country's escalating pothole and damaged roads crisis following this year’s bad weather.

The Government announced in March that the fund would set aside just £36.5m extra to target the most severely damaged roads right across the country and will allocate only £103.5m to be shared out between Councils throughout England.

Coun. Ali said “Once again the Conservatives have given Pendle the mouse’s share of funding, at just £2.2m for the whole County to fill the £8m hole we face for road repairs in Lancashire every year whilst the likes of Surrey and Oxfordshire have received over £10 million.

“We are losing out because our current Conservative MP would rather use his time in Parliament congratulating his ministerial colleagues than standing up for decent hard-working people here in Pendle. For all the ministerial visits he has had in the last year, why has he not used a single one of these opportunities to win Pendle the funding it needs to help support our vital infrastructure for local residents and businesses. Why should Pendle always lose out to the Home Counties and the South?”

“Luckily at Lancashire County Council Labour has made clear our commitment to improve our highways and infrastructure and have announced an increased £56m fund in our transport capital programme for road repairs over the next year. We’re serious about investing in Lancashire even if the Government isn’t.”

Council’s in England currently face a £10.5bn shortfall to repair damaged roads, a problem which for many has been exacerbated by one of the wettest winters on record.
Monday 03 March 2014
Pendle Council News Release - On Housing Benefit but struggling to pay your rent? There may be help available – claim it now!

Leader of the Pendle Labour group, Cllr Mohammed Iqbal has challenged the manner in which the Leader of the Council, Cllr Joe Cooney is on the verge of returning money back to the government due to this money not being spent. Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said:  

"The point was highlighted to Cllr Cooney months ago about the him not keeping a finger on the pulse on this matter. Pendle council has left it until now to make a plea to people to apply, there is still 50% of this budget left to spend, he will more than likely be sending money back at a time when 1 in 3 requests have been refused. He needs to wake up and help people struggling across Pendle instead of returning money back to George Osborne!"
Monday 10 February 2014
Consultation Update – Subsidised Bus Services

  Labour Party members who took part in the recent consultation regarding Barnoldswick and Pendle Witch bus services have received the following reply:

“Thank you for your recent letter concerning proposals to reduce the amount of subsidy available for non-commercial bus services.

“The reductions were considered as a result of the local government finance settlement and existing budget pressures, where Lancashire County Council (LCC) need to find further estimated savings of £300m between 2014 and 2018. This means that the council has to consider making these savings by reducing costs and reshaping the way services are delivered.

“LCC has undertaken a public consultation exercise in respect of the proposals and the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, County Councillor John Fillis, has listened carefully to the many views expressed in support of retaining the evening, Sunday and Bank Holiday services subsidised by LCC.

“As a result of the consultation process, the removal of subsidies to these services will not be going ahead. It is now intended to review each route when individual contracts are considered for renewal over the next few years.

“I hope that this clarifies the current position, and I would thank you for letting me know your views.

“Kind regards
Bus & Supported Transport Environment Directorate”

Mark Porter, President of Pendle Labour Party and Borough Council candidate for Barrowford said.

“I am pleased that the County Council has listened to the comments that I and other Labour Party members have made in making the case for retaining these essential services. Obviously, we will keep in mind that there will be further reviews on individual contracts and there may be a need to make further representations on behalf of local people.”
Saturday 08 February 2014
Barkerhouse Road zebra crossing work to start next week

Following extensive work by Labour Councillors in Southfield, work on the much needed zebra crossing on Barkerhouse Road, Nelson is due to start on Monday 17th February 2014.

The photograph shows County Councillor Azhar Ali, Councillors Sheila Wicks and Mohammed Ammer at the location of the zebra crossing.

Nelson South County Councillor and the Labour Party’s candidate for the General Election , Cllr Azhar Ali said “ I have been working with local Labour Councillors to fund this zebra crossing and despite the government cuts, Lancashire County Council believes this zebra crossing is much needed and I congratulate all involved in finally seeing their efforts coming to fruition”

Labour Candidate in Southfield in May and Nelson Town Councillor Mohammed Ammer added “I have spoken to residents over the last few months and they are excited at the zebra crossing works starting and hopefully in a few weeks work will be finished. This is an investment in the safety of the community in Southfield”.

Southfield Labour Councillor Sheila Wicks added “I along with my colleagues helped secure money from Nelson Area Committee and in partnership with Lancashire County Council; our dream is to become a reality with this £25,000 zebra crossing”.
Friday 07 February 2014
Lake Burwain footpath repairs

  Labour Pendle Borough Councillor for Vivary Bridge Ward, Ian Tweedie, is delighted that funding has finally been found for essential repairs to the footpath round Lake Burwain.

The footpath is popular with locals and tourists alike as well as anglers and an agreement between Pendle Council and Canal & Rivers Trust to share the cost of repairing the footpath comes as very welcome news.

Cllr Tweedie said: "I was pressed about this issue when I was elected in 2012 as the Council had failed to provide routine maintenance for a number of years. We need to ensure that our tourist attractions and recreational amenities are maintained to a decent standard first and foremost. With Pendle's Countryside Access Officer, Tom Partridge, as well as other Colne Area Committee Councillors I look forward to seeing this footpath made good and maintained from now on."
Saturday 01 February 2014
Public opposition forces £38m Colne to Foulridge bypass rethink - Lancashire Telegraph

Public opposition has forced a rethink on plans to build a £38million Colne to Foulridge bypass. Lancashire County Council revealed the proposal to construct the long-awaited link road by 2021 along with a preferred ‘Brown route’ in October.  

Lancashire county council cabinet member Azar Ali said:

“We are mounting a study to see if spending £38million on this bypass is justified. If it can’t be justified and the problem can be dealt with without one, there will be no-bypass.”

Coun Ali said the meeting of 400 residents at Colne Library was very divided between supporters and opponents of a new bypass. Read more at the Lancashire Telegraph Web site
Saturday 25 January 2014
Bid to bring HS2 college to Brierfield – Pendle Today

  Nelson county councillor Azhar Ali has written to the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, calling for a meeting to discuss the Government’s plans to build a dedicated college to train engineers.

County Coun. Ali said:

“Everything is in place here to make a success of the new skills college. “In Nelson and Colne College and the UCLan campus in Burnley, we have outstanding higher and further education facilities in this area and the perfect venue at Brierfield Mills. Read more on Pendle Today
Friday 17 January 2014
‘Rat-run’ victory for concerned Pendle residents - Lancashire Telegraph

  Residents in the Birtwistle Avenue and Harrison Drive areas had faced years of traffic misery as motorists used the streets as a short-cut to the busy North Valley Road.

In July last year, pensioner Eric Judson suffered serious injuries when he was hit by a van while getting a shopping bag from his car.

Pendle county councillor Azhar Ali took up the residents’ fight at county hall and a £60,000 traffic calming scheme for the area has now been secured. More>>

Saturday 11 January 2014
Condolences to the family of Paul Goggins MP

Mark Porter, President of Pendle CLP, speaking after the news of the unexpected death of Paul Goggins MP said:

“Pendle CLP would like to pass their sincere condolences on to Paul's family at this very sad time our thoughts are with them.

“There are many within the local party that remember Paul came to support Gordon Prentice's campaign at a rally held just before the 2005 General Election.

“Azhar Ali (Pendle CLP’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate) believes, with some justification, that it was the success of that rally that ensured Gordon of his majority a few days later. Pendle CLP was and will always be grateful for this contribution.

“We know Paul will be sadly missed by many within the party and we are sure that there will be many more with fond memories of Paul; all with their own stories of how Paul's kindness touched them in some shape or form. We hope that during this difficult time, his family will take some comfort from knowing that he was well respected by those that knew him.”
Friday 03 January 2014
Pendle Labour Party mourns the death of Alan Evans, who died on Christmas Day 2013 at Victoria Hospital Blackpool.

Alan served on Nelson Council from 1963 to 1974 and Pendle Council from 1974 to 1991.
He served as the Mayor of Nelson 1971/72 and Mayor of Pendle in 1989/90.

Alan was also a member of the of Pendle Twinning Association and served on the committee from 1974 until his death. He was chairman from 1989 to 2002.

The funeral arrangements are:
Committal at Burnley Crematorium on Monday,13 January, followed by a Memorial Service at Christ Church, Carr Road, Nelson.

Wednesday 01 January 2014
Pendle hardship funds could be returned - Lancashire Telegraph

  "A Senior councillor has voiced fears that around half of a major hardship fund, awarded to Pendle Council, could be returned to the Government

Under its discretionary housing payments scheme, the borough council has £142,000 to give to the hardest-hit households, including those left worse off by the Government’s controversial bedroom tax."

Tuesday 17 December 2013
The Season’s Greetings from Mark Porter, President of Pendle Labour Party

Reflecting on the past year as 2013 draws to a close, I know that for many families across Pendle the last twelve months have been extremely challenging, not least because of the strain on household budgets caused by rising energy costs and food prices, and real term pay cuts as wages have failed to keep pace with inflation.

Looking forward to the New Year, 2014 will be just as challenging, but I and the other members of Pendle Labour Party are still committed to trying to secure a better deal for the people of Pendle.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank all party members for their hard work throughout the year. I hope they get some well-earned rest and come back refreshed and ready to take up the challenge in 2014 with the Borough and European elections in the spring.

I would encourage members to check up on other members and residents they know to see if they are managing and to get in touch if they need extra help this winter?

Finally I would like to wish all the people of Pendle a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year - and please take care over this festive period.
Sunday 08 December 2013
Petition against the 'Gagging Bill'

  A group of people representing different campaigning interests within Pendle presented the '38 Degrees' petition objecting to the Bill to Pendle MP Mr Andrew Stephenson in the form of a covering letter and a CD with details of the 188,179 signatories on.

The Bill will regulate activity over a year which may affect the result of an election. Moreover, the bill introduces criminal sanctions that are likely to frighten off many organisations from legitimate comment on government policies; will reduce the amount that third party campaigns may spend to £390,000 (from £989,000); and will suffocate organisations with reporting and other obligations. The petitioners argue that these restrictions and restraints are so wide and burdensome as to amount to a disproportionate restraint on freedom of expression.

Ministers accuse 38 Degrees of “scaremongering”. But they are right, and they are not alone in being alarmed at the extent of the bill’s impact on everyday democracy in the UK. A huge range of voluntary organisations, campaign groups and charities – from the umbrella organisation, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) to the TUC, the Royal British Legion to the RSPB, Oxfam to Unlock Democracy – have joined 38 Degrees in stark warnings about the damage that part II of the government bill would inflict on open debate.

David Foat, a Labour Party member present at the petition handover said:

“I have signed the petition against this Bill. Mainstream political parties - the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems - concentrate on winning the centre ground vote all the time. The marginal constituencies like Pendle and the swinging centre-ground voters. How can pressure groups with concerns about specific issues exert any influence on the democratic system? Poor and vulnerable members of society have their rights side-lined in an unconscionable manner. The only way these matters can be made election issues is through lobbying and spending on non-party election campaigning in order to attract a percentage of the electorate sufficient to make the difference between winning and losing for the mainstream party candidates.”

The Labour Party is currently reviewing their relationship with their affiliated trade unions so that trade union members will be able to choose whether to donate to a fund to help the Labour Party or a non-party political campaigning fund. Such a set up already exists with UNISON.
Wednesday 20 November 2013
Small firms in Pendle would benefit from Labour’s business rate cut - Azhar Ali

Commenting on Chuka Umunna’s speech to the Association of Convenience Stores Heart of the Community Conference, County Councillor Azhar Ali, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Pendle said:  

“Times are tough for small businesses in the Pendle and across the North West. There is a cost of living crisis but this out of touch Government doesn’t seem to care.

“David Cameron and George Osborne could make life easier for small business owners by implementing Labour’s commitment to cut and then freeze business rates in 2015 and 2016. That would save small firms in the area £390 over the two years.”
Monday 18 November 2013
Silverman Lecture: questions still to come on HS2 - and brickbats for the local railways

  Colne’s Lesser Municipal Hall was packed on Thursday evening (14 November) for Pendle Labour Party’s 29th Sydney Silverman Memorial Lecture, given by Louise Ellman.

A former leader of Lancashire County Council, Louise Ellman is now MP for Liverpool Riverside and Chair of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee. She spoke firstly on the persistence of Sydney Silverman in achieving his aims and went on to talk of the work of her committee, concentrating on the future of the railways. She said far more money was invested in railways in London and the South than in the North, and that it was important for the North to keep up the pressure for improvements over and above the Northern Hub investment.

As for HS2, she said her committee were carrying out a further inquiry in the next few weeks. However she made it clear that she thought a decision not to go ahead with this project would not necessarily mean the money saved would be available for investment in other parts of the railway system. In answer to a question as to why HS2 could not have its first sections built in the North and work its way down to London, she said she had been told that the most overcrowded stretch was between London and Birmingham and that this would be the first part of the proposed project.

Following the talk, Peter Nowland from Selrap gave a brief outline of how a re-opened Colne to Skipton line would be a key element in cross-country rail traffic, linking the ports of Hull and Liverpool, where enormous investment is going into new port facilities.

A number of questioners emphasised the poor state of the local rail system and the time it takes to get by rail to Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.

Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for Pendle, Cty Cllr Azhar Ali, also spoke about the consultation on the proposals for the A56 villages bypass. The evening was sponsored by the North West Cooperative Party. Former Cty Cllr Tim Ormrod, in intoducing Louise Ellman, said how pleased he was to be welcoming a Labour and Cooperative Party MP to speak in Colne.

Saturday 16 November 2013
Nelson volleyball club welcomes £700 grant

Cllr Julie Henderson presenting Mohammed Suleman, the Treasurer of Nelson VolleyBall Club with the cheque for £700 from the Nelson Committee.  

Nelson area committee granted Nelson Volleyball Club £700 at their last meeting to help with training facilities for team members. Club Treasurer, Mohammed Suleman said "the club has been in existence for over 30 years and we represent our town at national competitions. We now train 12 months of the year and this help from Nelson committee will help towards the costs of hiring a facility. I would like to especially thank Cllr Julie Henderson who made this possible".

Walverden labour councillor Julie Henderson added “I know many people across Nelson who are involved in the club both as players and volunteers. This grant will help the club ensure that Nelson is represented at national competitions”.
Saturday 19 October 2013
M65 to Foulridge bypass bid ‘closest it has ever been’ - Pendle Today

  Lancashire County Council is the closest it has ever been to making the £40m. “Villages Bypass” a reality.

Showing his support, County Coun. Azhar Ali said: “I have been campaigning for the bypass for the past 15 years, and this is the nearest we have got. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that the people of Pendle, and in particular the people of Colne, cannot afford to miss. More>>

Download Vivary Bridge Newsletter (PDF-569KB)
Saturday 05 October 2013
Ed Miliband jokes about dad controversy in Darwen - Lancashire Telegraph

The government is using the Keogh report into failures at East Lancashire hospitals to score political points and damage the reputation of the NHS, according to Labour leader Ed Miliband.  

The leader of the opposition visited Darwen yesterday ((FRI)) with Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Rossendale and Darwen, Will Straw, to meet members of the public and discuss their concerns about the cost of living. More from the LT>>

Wednesday 02 October 2013
Shadow Education Secretary to Visit Pendle Schools
Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Stephen Twigg, will be visiting two Pendle Secondary schools tomorrow, 3 October.

At 9.30 he will be meeting staff and pupils at West Craven High Technology College in Barnoldswick, and at 1.00 pm at Fisher More High School, Colne.
Monday 30 September 2013
Pendle Labour congratulates Mark Porter on his election to become the President of Pendle Labour Party.

  Mark has taken over the reins from Azhar Ali who will be concentrating his efforts on contesting the Pendle Parliamentary seat for Labour in 2015.

Mark, who is 41 years of age, was born in Burnley and is an avid supporter of Burnley FC.

Mark lives in the Borough of Pendle with his family and also works in Pendle’s manufacturing sector.

In addition to his manufacturing experience Mark has an extensive knowledge on a range of subjects from pensions to employment law. He also understands the many challenges that the people across Pendle face on a daily basis.

Mark said: " I am very pleased and feel honoured to have been elected to the position of President of Pendle Labour Party.

“I would like to Thank Azhar Ali for his leadership over the last two years and wish him well with his parliamentary campaign.

“I look forward to working with him alongside all the party members, candidates and councillors in the coming months. Our priority is to try to help our community of Pendle. Many people in Pendle are suffering unnecessarily as the result of the unfair cuts in services and the ill thought out policies of the Conservative led coalition both nationally and locally.

“I would also like to extend Labour’s hand of friendship to the people of Pendle and say, ‘if you share our values of equality and fairness, if you would like to try and help improve your community and build a society for the many and not the privileged few; then why not get in touch and share your ideas and together let's rebuild our communities and make Britain Great once more’."
Monday 16 September 2013
Pendle Labour Party select Azhar Ali as its Prospective Parliamentary Labour Party Candidate for Pendle

Former Pendle Council Leader Azhar Ali has been selected as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate by Pendle Constituency Labour Party.

County Councillor Ali, currently Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing on Lancashire County Council, won the ballot of members at a packed meeting of the Constituency Labour Party in the Silverman Hall yesterday afternoon (15 Sept). The five shortlisted candidates had each given a presentation and then answered questions about their policies for Pendle, their beliefs and campaigning experience.

After the vote was announced Cllr Ali said: “I am honoured to have been chosen to stand as Pendle’s prospective candidate for Labour in the General Election.

“Everyone in Pendle who has been affected by the calamitous austerity measures over the last three years and by the unnecessary and costly reorganisation of the NHS – all voted for by the current MP, whatever he says locally – can now join our campaign for a Labour victory in 2015.

“I should like to pay tribute to the other candidates in yesterday’s hustings, and also to Liz Savage, the Selection Committee Secretary, for the efficient running of this very demanding process.”
Saturday 14 September 2013
Birtwistle Avenue Rat Run Update

Vivary Bridge Labour Councillor Ian Tweedie says:

"On Friday I met Simon Bucknell of Lancashire County Council at their offices in Burnley with Pendle Labour Party Chairman Azhar Ali".

"Our meeting followed public consultations about the Birtwistle Ave rat-run problem including two residents' meetings at the North Valley Community Centre. Various proposals have been made including closing Birtwistle Avenue completely to through traffic at a point between Red Lane and Burrell Avenue with signs saying 'Road Closed to Through Traffic' at the Red Lane and Vivary Way roundabouts. However, at our meeting we decided to proceed in stages. Firstly there will be more Speed Indicator Devices (SPIDS) installed along the rat run, then more speed humps and then more signage. There will be further residents' meetings to review progress."

Cllr Tweedie adds: "I'm very pleased to be keeping my 2012 election pledge to take real action about the Birtwistle Ave rat run."

Saturday 07 Septemebr 2013
Former Labour Councillor wanted by the Conservative Party

Following the news that a suspended Labour councillor has joined the Pendle Conservatives, Labour Group Leader on Pendle Council, Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said:

“Cllr Aziz was suspended for an indefinite period a number of months ago for his actions which had brought him into disrepute with the Labour group.

It has also come to my attention in the last few months that Cllr Aziz is a wanted man in another country in relation to an alleged serious criminal matter.

“I would challenge him to resign and fight a by-election on his new party’s platform, let the people of Walverden decide if he is worthy to represent them.”

You can read Councillor Joe Cooney’s tweet welcoming Cllr Aziz here
Monday 12 August 2013
Mike McIlroy, 1958-2013
Alan Newbould recalls Mike’s role in Pendle Labour Party.

Mike was born in Northern Ireland in April 1958.

Following his university education, Mike arrived in Pendle in the late eighties (he had previously been a member of Milton Keynes CLP).

Mike immediately became active in Brierfield branch. He played an active role in the campaign committee which led to the election of Gordon Prentice as Pendle’s MP in 1992.

Mike was elected President of Pendle CLP in 1993 and also served as the Election Coordinator.

Mike McIlroy and Family
The photograph was taken several years ago

He was never afraid to challenge people in authority and many of us remember the occasion when his voracity facilitated Tony Greaves storming out of a public meeting. Mike also relished the role of being the person to ask the appropriate questions to ensure that Gordon Prentice in his position as the MP was reflecting the best interests of the local party and Pendle’s constituents.

When he left the area he regularly returned to Pendle to campaign for Gordon Prentice due to both a loyalty to Pendle and not being too comfortable with the political leaning of his local MP in Chorley.

Mike believed that the Blair years were the missed opportunity to build a fair and equitable society.

He had letters and articles published in the Guardian and Tribune.

Whilst living in Pendle, Mike taught at Bradley Primary School and was appointed the deputy head teacher at Hyndburn Park Primary School in Accrington. He left Pendle to take up a post in the Chorley area and later became the head teacher of a new Burnley school. He later became an HMI and then a Senior HMI working for OFSTED.

Mike will be remembered for his intellect, humour and most importantly his sense of comradeship.

He was a BIG man in every way.

He lived life as a socialist and died a socialist, insisting that the red flag was sung at his funeral.

The large number of people attending his funeral (in excess of 100) who knew him from different facets of his life was testament to both the respect and popularity that he earned.

Labour Party members in Pendle that knew him, send their heartfelt condolences to all of his family.

Mike will live on in the hearts of many of us and especially his wife Gillian, his sons Tom and James, his brother Brian and sister Barbara.
Friday 09 August 2013
Gordon Prentice records some of his memories of Labour stalwart Bob Wilkinson (1951-2013) who died recently

The news this week that my friend Bob Wilkinson has died of cancer comes as a huge shock.

Bob was my agent in the 1997 General Election and masterminded a brilliant campaign that gave Labour a colossal majority of over 10,000. We had over 53% of the total vote.

As it happens, I last saw Bob a couple of years ago when I bumped into him quite by chance in the Rising Sun in Blacko as I was having a quiet pint with John Pope and Andy Stringer. Bob, a keen supporter of the Campaign for Real Ale, was his usual convivial self. He enjoyed the company of others.

Bob, a teacher by profession, could be quite self-effacing, playing down his own role in our stunning victory in Pendle.

In his report to the GC after the May 1997 General Election he admitted that we had a lot going for us. “A bankrupt Government, a good national campaign by Labour and Tony Greaves as the Liberal candidate!”

The campaign was certainly memorable for the terrific show of posters. There has been nothing comparable since. They were absolutely everywhere with Bob directing the stakeboarding teams to get them up first and ask permission later!

He told the GC afterwards: “The experience of acting as agent was exhilarating and almost addictive but I would warn anyone thinking of taking the job for the next election that it can turn the mildest of individuals into a dictator overnight. So much for democracy!”

Back in 1997, no one was very sure how the Blair Government would shape up but there were straws in the wind. We went into that election promising no increase in the top rate of income tax. And that we would stick to planned public spending for the first two years. Bob was uncomfortable with all this but was hoping for the best.

These were also the days when there were debates within the Party on whether the UK should join the Euro. I recall long conversations with him on the merits or otherwise of the Single Currency. I was hostile. Bob less so.

I am told that Bob left the Labour Party after Iraq. If so, this decision wouldn’t have surprised me. He would have quickly sussed out that the reasons for the war were entirely bogus.

Bob had two boys, Alan and Ian, with his first wife, Ruth, who worked in my office in Carr Road for many years.

I feel a deep sadness that Bob is no longer with us.
Saturday 13 July 2013
Birtwistle Avenue Rat Run

Vivary Bridge Labour Councillor Ian Tweedie says:

"I have been asked to comment on a very nasty accident today (12 July 2013) on the Birtwistle Avenue Rat Run. A resident getting out of his car was hit by a VW camper van travelling at speed. His car door was ripped off and he was dragged for a distance and has been rushed to hospital. I'm sure your reporters will have more information about this terrible incident from the Police involved.

"I hope the resident makes a full recovery but the campaign to have Speed Indicator Devices (SPIDS) installed along the route of the rat run continues. Working closely with the Labour County Council I have been asking for the SPIDS and we were delighted to see one installed this week at the end of Birtwistle Avenue approaching the Sacred Heart Primary School. However, this further accident has happened at the Harrison Drive end near the roundabout with Birtwistle Ave. We need SPIDS and better traffic calming all the way along the Rat Run."

Labour-run Lancashire County Council this week decided to complete the programme of 20 mph limits in all residential areas in response to the ‘Slower Speeds, Safer Children’ campaign. The former chairman of the Labour Government’s Commission for Integrated Transport, ex-Transport Convenor on Edinburgh City Council and visiting professor in Sustainable Transport at Plymouth University said: “The first responsibility of any politician is the safety of their citizens, particularly children.

Cllr Tweedie added:

"Accidents can still happen at low speeds and speed cameras and SPIDS are not a panacea. However, the overwhelming evidence shows that where such devices are installed the number of serious accidents drops by a quarter."
Friday 12 July 2013
ll-conceived Taxi Parking idea – Ian Graham
  Commenting on the proposal for taxi parking on Midgley Street Car Park,Labour Party Member and School Governor, Ian Graham said:

“Pendle Council are considering a Planning application for a portable cabin Taxi Office and 5 taxi parking spaces on Midgley Street Car Park in Colne.

“With parking spaces for members of the public in Colne already at a premium this is an ill-conceived idea. The car park entrance is exactly opposite to West Street Community Primary School main entrance and parents delivering children to school use this car park to avoid parking dangerously on the road by the school entrance.”.

Follow this hyperlink
to a letter opposing the application giving reasons for their concerns signed by the Head teacher Mrs Sarah Burtoft and the Chair of Governors Ian Graham.
Saturday 08 June 2013
Birtwistle Avenue Rat Run

For years people living along Harrison Drive and Birtwistle Avenue have complained about speeding traffic taking a short cut through the estate. Now, Cllr Ian Tweedie is saying that Speed Indicator Devices (SPIDS) will shortly be installed along the route of the rat run.  

Ian, a Labour Pendle Borough Councillor for Vivary Bridge Ward, says:

"Traffic gets particularly bad during rush hour. The traffic on the North Valley grinds to a halt and workers eager to get to work on time in the morning and return home in the evening resort to the estate roads. Normally, it takes longer to get through the estate than it does to take the North Valley, so drivers are tempted to go faster than the speed limit. At times a continuous stream of fast moving traffic develops as flow tends to be in one direction in the morning and reversed in the afternoon. I have been asking the Lancashire County Highways Department to install SPIDS on Birtwistle Avenue and now it appears that they are indeed about to be put in place."

Cllr Tweedie adds:
"Accidents can still happen at low speeds and speed cameras and SPIDS are not a panacea. However, the overwhelming evidence shows that where such devices are installed the number of serious accidents drops by a quarter."
Monday 03 June 2013
Lake Burwain Path Funding

  Labour Pendle Borough Councillor for Vivary Bridge Ward, Ian Tweedie, is seeking funding for essential repairs to the footpath round Lake Burwain. The footpath is popular with locals and tourists alike as well as anglers. There is a long-standing agreement between Pendle Council and British Waterways for the Council to maintain the footpath as a recreational amenity since its inception, but the Council has failed to provide routine maintenance it seems.

As a result of Cllr Tweedie responding to numerous requests from Colne residents for the path to be made usable to a reasonable standard, there is a bid for funding on the Colne Area Committee this Thursday 6 June from Pendle's Countryside Access Officer, Tom Partridge. Once the path is put into order, routine maintenance will be provided for from the countryside access maintenance budget.

Cllr Tweedie says: "I was pressed about this issue when I was elected in 2012 as the first Labour Councillor in Colne for some years. We need to ensure that our tourist attractions and recreational amenities are maintained to a decent standard first and foremost."
Monday 27 May 2013
Vivary Bridge Labour Councillor Ian Tweedie wins battle of the spray

During the recent County election campaign, Ian Graham, the Labour candidate in Pendle Central identified that residents were far from happy with the car wash being operated on the old petrol station site at the bottom of North Street.  

Spray from the cars being washed by hand with high pressure hoses was drifting into North Valley Road and soaking pedestrians walking along the pavement.

Local Labour Councillor Ian Tweedie has spoken with the owners of the car wash and they have promised to erect some screens along the side of the site to protect pedestrians from the worst of the spray. Cllr Ian Tweedie say: "It was especially bad in very cold weather and I am pleased that the owners have responded in a reasonable manner to complaints. Some residents complained that the cleaning agents also caused their eyes to sting, so this really is a required measure."
Archived Items
(local items removed from this page)
Promoted by Pendle Constituency Labour Party - 33 Carr Road, Nelson, Lancs BB9 7JS