Who can you trust?

One of the strange aspects of the current General Election campaign has been the almost total lack of analysis about the local impact of key government policies.

Those who were most vocal about BREXIT, climate change, the NHS and poverty have struggled to put their case into a local context.

 The once powerful and independent print media in York have lamely given candidates a few hundred words to put across – what turned out to be – largely anodyne “policies”.

Gone is the local forensic analysis of candidate’s qualities. Local political differences go largely unreported. In depth factual analysis is limited.

The Press is reduced to commenting on the number of leaflets being delivered by candidates, a fake issue created by politicians too lazy to deliver their own messages.

The print media decline is largely, of course, down to a decline in the resources available to local newspapers. The Yorkshire Post is an exception, but it covers a large and diverse area.

Many have switched to unregulated social media channels for information. Even there we recently saw one party try to pass itself of as a (entirely bugus) “fact checker” while others bombard the internet with fake news. Extremists have subtlety sought to take over local organisations to use them as a front for their views.

Anti BREXI groups have been infilrated as have so called “independent” tactical voting web sites.

Part of the problem may relate to the timing of the election. Mid-winter is not an ideal time to go canvassing.

But the candidates must also take some of the blame.

 In York Central several appear to be auditioning for a part in the next Harry Potter film.

The one featuring a “cloak of invisibility”.

Shy Council candidates refuse to reveal where they live

We publish below a list of 55 candidates in the York Council elections who are refusing to reveal where they live.

It is only recently that the government changed the rules to allow home addresses to be omitted from candidate nomination forms. Council officials still check that potential candidates are on the electoral register or are qualified to stand in some other way. But there is no transparency about whether a candidate lives in or particularly close to the area that he or she hopes to represent.

The Dringhouses ward fares particularly badly. 7 of the 14 candidates there decline to say where they live.

This is important because many electors will expect their Councillors to regularly check on the quality of public series in the area. A good maxim for Councillors has always been the three “C”’s.

Consult residents, Campaign for improvements and Communicate what you have done.

This can most easily be done if a Councillor lives in or very near to the ward that they represent. From the moment they leave their home in a morning they can be scanning public services like roads, street lights and litter collection to check that everything is OK.

That’s much more difficult if you live several miles away. There is evidence to suggest that, after the first few enthusiastic months, communication with residents declines (until another election comes round).

So, electors have a right to know whether a candidate lives in the neighbourhood.

The government changed the rules in an attempt to protect public servants from intimidation. That’s’ fine. There is no need to publish the house number of a candidate. Just the street name, and confirmation of which ward it is in, would suffice, at least until someone has been elected.

Four of the “shy” candidates are currently sitting Councillors.

  • Cllr Boyce doesn’t provide either her address or personal telephone number on the Council web site
  • Cllr Michael Pavlovic also doesn’t provide an address but he has listed a mobile phone number
  • Cllr Margaret Wells doesn’t provide an address but does list a phone number
  • Cllr Stuart Barnes does list both his Strensall address and a personal telephone number.

A quick look at the Party websites reveals that they are no more candid about where their candidates live.

All candidates should, before the 2nd May poll, publish details indicating which polling district they live in, and provide a contact email and telephone number.

Such details will be required by residents if candidates are fortunate enough to get elected.

Another Tory Councillor jumps ship in York

4:00pm deadline  today for Council election nominations

As we forecast a couple of weeks ago, relationships within the Conservative party n York have hit a new low. It has been confirmed that a fourth former member of the Tory group will join 3 others in standing as “independents” in the Council election on 2nd May. The latest Councillor to jump ship (be pushed) is Haxby Councillor Tony Richardson who describes the local Tory Group as “toxic”. He joins John Galvin, Suzie Mercer and David Carr as former Tories now turned independent candidates.

Tory Leader Ian Gillies has already announced that he is standing down from the Council and he is expected to be joined by Sam Lisle and Helen Douglas when the candidate lists are announced at 4:00pm today.  

Thus, of 14 people originally elected as Conservatives in May 2015, no more than 7 will seek re-election.

The Tories do hope to bring back Sian Wiseman in the Strensall Ward. She was a Councillor between 2007 and 2011 but herself quit the Tory group, to sit for a time as an independent, following a possible conflict of interest row relating to the Local Plan.

Sceptics may think that the “Gang of Four” will have a better chance of success standing as Independents given the parlous state of the Tory party regionally and nationally. Tory Police and Crime Chief Julia Mulligan has also announced that she is quitting while the BREXIT turmoil is taking its inevitable toll on opinion poll ratings.

Incredibly, the controversial Tony Richardson was until this week the deputy Leader of the Conservative Group. That mantle has now passed to the photogenic, but largely ineffectual, Stuart Rawlings. He is the potential replacement for Ian Gillies as Leader of the Conservatives after the May poll.

It seems increasingly unlikely that there will be a Tory presence on the Council to lead. They were wiped out in 2003 and as similar fate may await their candidates this May.

Labour has already been through a similar pre-election turmoil with 3 of the 15 Councillors elected in May 2015 having already quit.

2 more now sit as independents.

Whatever happens on May 2nd, the City can’t look to the traditionally larger parties to provide stability and experience in what is likely to be a difficult year for the City.

More about candidates in Holgate by election

There is an increasing tendency for election candidates to announce themselves on social media, with their political party left to play “catch up” in the communications game. Last week a Labour activist announced that he would be the next Councillor for Holgate. Turned out that he had applied to be the candidate. Later he was turned down.

So, what do we know about the runners and riders?

Liberal Democrat

Candidate is local resident Emma Keef who lives in Clive Grove. Has been involved with local groups like the Friends of Hob Moor and the Friends of St Paul’s Primary School. Is a Trustee for York’s Special Care Baby Unit.  Works for a local Charity. Married with two children. Formerly a helper at the local children’s centre. Has lived in the area for over 10 years. The LibDem campaign got off to a slow start, but they are the only party to have beaten Labour in this seat since local government reorganisation, so they have a chance.


Had a false start when one “George Norman”, a Momentum activist, declared last week that he would be the next Councillor for Holgate. Apparently, he hadn’t told anyone else and was promptly unseated by a Kallum Taylor. Taylor is a former Student Leader at York Uni and very much in the James Alexander mould. He has a lot to do to retain the seat following disclosures about lack of activity by the present Labour Councillors (who failed to post a single update on their web page between April 2015 and January 2018). He works for JRHT in housing. Main claim to fame seems to be his connection with Poppleton FC.  Kallum Taylor claims to live in the ward, but it is unclear where. Possibly another instance of Maskell syndrome – buy/rent a local property a few days before you seek election? Taylor finally made it onto the elector register at 21 Bromley Street when it was updated in February 2018


The Conservative candidate is expected to be Joao Rei Villar a Portuguese national who has lived in York since 2011. He moved into the Holgate ward in the summer of 2016 after which he tweeted that he was the Holgate Tory spokesman. EU nationals are currently eligible to vote, and stand for election, in Council elections in the UK. The York Council already has one EU national amongst its membership (a Green Party Councillor in the Micklegate ward). Joao Rei Villar seems to be a colourful character having formerly been a CDU Councillor in Lisbon. He is also a qualified anti-aircraft gunner which could come in handy if Teresa May starts “claiming back our borders”. Which side of the border Joao will be on come 2019 remains to be seen. By profession he is a script writer and had a minor part in last years Mystery Plays.

The by election takes place on Thursday 15th February.  Nominations must be submitted by Friday.

Residents who are not currently registered to vote are encouraged to go visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. All applications must be made by Tuesday 30 January 2018.

Residents who wish to arrange a postal vote can find further information at www.york.gov.uk or by contacting Electoral Services on 01904 551007 or electoral.services@york.gov.uk.

Completed applications for a postal vote must be received by 5pm on Wednesday 31 January 2018. Postal votes will be sent out first class from Thursday 1 February 2018.

Lib Dem Candidates – City of York Council Elections 2015

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Please click on the ward for further information

Bishopthorpe – Daniel Khan

Copmanthorpe – Richard Brown

Dringhouses & Woodthorpe – Cllr Ann Reid, Stephen Fenton, Ashley Mason

Fulford & Heslington – Cllr Keith Aspden

Haxby & Wigginton – Cllr Ian Cuthbertson, Martin Lewis Crosby, Sue Willer

Heworth Without – Cllr Nigel Ayre

Huntington & New Earswick – Cllr Keith Orrell, Cllr Carol Runciman, Chris Cullwick

Osbaldwick & Derwent – Richard Hill, Linda Maggs

Rawcliffe & Clifton Without – Richard Shrimpton, Mark Waudby, Sam Waudby

Rural West – Jayne Bradley, Gareth Morgan

Strensall – Tony Fisher, David Goodall

Wheldrake – Jonathan Stott

York Central Wards (please click on the ward for further information):

Acomb – John Ballantine, Reuban Mayne

Clifton – Tobie Abel, Derek Wann

Fishergate – Charlie Kingsbury, Shawn Imeson

Guildhall – Mike Green, Nick Love, Derek Waudby

Heworth – Ian Packington, Ben Rich, Matthew Smithson

Holgate – Robert Adamson, Jonathan Morley, Matthew Reid

Hull Road – Tom Davies, Rachel Edwards, Lizzy Roberts

Micklegate – Carlotta Allum, Martin Bartlett, Aileen Hingston

Westfield – Cllr Andrew Waller, Sue Hunter, Sheena Jackson

If you would like to contact any of our candidates please contact info@yorklibdems.org.uk

Information on our Parliamentary Candidates can be found here for James Blanchard (York Outer) and here for Nick Love (York Central).

Liberal Democrats announce details of 47 candidates for York Council elections on May 7th

A full list of candidates for the York Council elections on May 7th is now available from the LibDem web site.

Local residents Sue Hunter, Sheena Jackson and Cllr Andrew Waller will contest the Westfield ward for the LibDems

Local residents Sue Hunter, Sheena Jackson and Cllr Andrew Waller will contest the Westfield ward for the LibDems

Wherever possible, local ward branches have selected candidates who live in or near the neighbourhoods that they seek to represent.

The other parties have also announced most of their candidates and it looks like around 200 – a record number – will be contesting the elections which take place on the same day as the parliamentary poll.

Click here for details of the LibDem candidates.

Policy manifestos are expected to be published in early April

The current make up of the Council is

Lab – 21

LibDem – 9

Tory – 9

Green – 2

Ind Lab – 2

Ind – 4

Westfield Liberal Democrats reveal their team for May’s local elections. 

The candidates – Sue Hunter, Sheena Jackson and Cllr Andrew Waller- all live in the ward.


Andrew Waller who regained the seat in the by-election caused by the sad death of Cllr Lynn Jeffries in October with a 25% swing from Labour, will be joined by two fellow local residents.

Sue Hunter who runs the local Florists and former local youth worker Sheena Jackson.

Cllr Andrew Waller said

“I believe it is important that anyone who seeks to represent a local community should have a stake in  that community. 

We need mature Councillors with good all round experience of life and a commitment to improving local public services”.

 “This is a very strong team and will ensure that Westfield once again has three hardworking local councillors in May.

I am pleased over recent years to have worked with Sue and Sheena and their commitment to the local community has been demonstrated beyond doubt.

I have worked with Sue through Acomb Alive! and with Sheena through the youth groups in Chapelfields and the Urbie Bus which the council used to run. It has been the axing of these valued services which have drawn Sheena into working with the local Lib Dem team”.

The team will be supported by Steve Galloway who represented the Westfield area on the Council for 38 years. He will act as their election agent.

Further details of the candidates