More to be banned from becoming Councillors in York?

York’s Standards Committee, which monitors Councillors behaviour, is being asked to support government moves to extend the range of offences which preclude people from standing for election.

There are already a wide range of exclusions including anyone having been convicted of a criminal offence, with at least a 3-month prison penalty, during the previous 5 years. Other disqualifications prevent some Council officials, teachers and bankrupts from seeking election.

The Government now considers that anyone who is subject to sex offender notification requirements, commonly referred to as ‘being on the sex offenders register’, should be barred from standing for election. Residents may have some sympathy with that view.

The government goes further and proposes to exclude anyone who is subject to some anti-social behaviour orders i.e. Civil Injunction or a Criminal Behaviour Order.

However, anyone subject to a dispersal, community protection, public spaces protect, or closure order will be able to seek election. We think there is a case for requiring anyone in this category to reveal the fact in any literature they may distribute when seeking election.

We do not, however, expect to see a mass exodus of “Yoof” in the general direction of the local polling booth.

More serious, though, is the way that in which the Standards Committee is failing its own Council members. Two have been under suspicion of wrongdoing now for three months. They have been (very publicly) sacked from paid jobs on the Executive and have been given no indication when they will have the opportunity to hear any evidence which may be available against them, much less have they had any opportunity to respond.

That simply isn’t good enough.

If the police had any evidence of wrongdoing they would have acted by now.

It is for the Councils own committees to bring the matter to a swift conclusion.

The committee may also wish to look at whether the individual circumstances of other Councillors may have changed since they qualified to stand at the last election.

Essentially Councillors need to have their principal place of residence or work in the Council area and/or own property in the area.

Judging by the councils web site, no fewer than 12 of the 47 Councillors give only “West Offices” as their contact address. All will have had to declare their home address on their nomination forms before being elected, so why the rush for secrecy now?

Gone it seems are the days when a taxpayer could pop a note about an issue through the letterbox of their local representative.

In fairness all the Conservative, Green and Independent Councillors publish their home addresses. All but one of the LibDems also do the same.

Quite why 2/3 of Labour Councillors seem to have gone into hiding is unclear

NB One Conservative Councillor has been offering their home for sale for some months now. Whether this is to allow them to move closer to the ward that they represent hasn’t been revealed. Alternatively they may have moved away from the City.

One Labour Councillor gives neither his home address or a contact Email address on the Council web site!

Election results – no change in York

General Election

York Central

Rachael Maskell,  Labour, 34,594

Ed Young, Conservative, 16,019

Nick Love, Liberal Democrat, 2,475

York Outer

Julian Sturdy, Conservative, 29,356

Luke Charters-Reid, Labour, 21,067

James Blanchard, Liberal Democrat, 5,910

Bethan Vincent, Green, 1,094

Local Council by elections

Hull Road Ward

Candidate Party Number of votes
John Scobell Cossham  Green Party 826
Matt Freckelton The Conservative Party 1,199
Alex Nowis Liberal Democrats 407
Michael Pavolic Labour Party 3,408
  • Turnout 56.8%

Micklegate Ward

Candidate Party Number of votes
Rosie Baker Green Party 1,581
Jonny Crawshaw Labour Party 3,772
Paul Healey The Conservative Party 1,460
Aileen Alison Hingston  Liberal Democrats 634
  • Turnout 75.5%

Three party contest for York central seat

With nominations now closed, York will see its first 3 party parliamentary election contest since February 1974.  The absence of Green and UKIP candidates means that there will be a clear right/centre/left choice for voters.

The three candidates are:

  • Nick Love (LibDem)
  • Rachael Maskell (Labour)
  • Ed Young (Conservative)

In 1974 Labour won the seat (on slightly different boundaries). Labour have only lost once since then but face an uphill task on 8th June not least because of their poor national image.

So do Councillor elections make much difference?

Vote share in May 2017 Council elections

This years local Council elections (there were none in York) were overshadowed by the upcoming General Election.

It was clearly a good night for the Conservatives although the biggest increase in vote share went to the LibDems. This wasn’t translated into a gain in seats won, but the real losers were Labour and UKIP (which was wiped out).

The Conservatives now hold 55 seats on the North Yorkshire County Council  with Labour on 4, the LibDems on 3. There are 10 independents, some of whom are effectively also conservatives.

So in effect, to use the Prime Ministers ill judged comment, the opposition has been crushed. This is as near as you are likely to get to a one party state in what is a democratic country.

in North Yorkshire only 53% of those voting chose the Tories but their huge majority reflects, once again, the vagaries of the English voting system.

This has happened in the past. Only 6 opposition Councillors were elected in 1977 to what was then a bigger authority. During the following 4 years the opposition parties struggled to scrutinise proposals put forward by the ruling group. It was a problem exaggerated by the size of the county. Inevitably it also led to internal rivalries in the controlling group which became more inward looking. Polices were pushed through with little notice being taken of residents views.

So can your Councillor make a difference?

In York the Council has recently published a list indicating the number of enquiries recorded by individual Councillors in a year.  An updated version covering 2016/17 is due out shortly.

It confirms what most will have suspected.

There are some hardworking and proactive Councillors in the City.

Many routinely walk or cycle round their wards identifying and reporting problems with public services. In many cases residents will not even know that a remedy was initiated by a Councillor.

Some Councillors regularly test public opinion with door to door surveys

Some Councillors have regular “surgeries” while others conduct door to door surveys (left) to establish residents priorities.

So many do make a difference to the day to day lives of residents.

This weeks local elections results may have more to do with national issues than  local performance.

If so, it is a shame.

Some good Councillors from all parties will have lost their seats on Thursday through no fault of their own.

Their communities will be poorer as a result. 


Poor choice for police boss as postal vote forms arrive

Postal votes for the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner elections are landing on doormats today.

Most electors will be baffled by the lack of information about the candidates for a post which costs taxpayers £34 an hour

The only source of information is a web site on which very brief manifestos can be viewed. However the official poll cards make no mention that the site even exists much less how to access it.

For the record you can access it by clicking here 

How an elector who does not have internet access will source information about candidates is unclear. They have no way of knowing that a policy comparator is even available
PCC candidates web site

We would have expected the four candidates to have made a bit more effort to address the growing concerns about crime in the county.

Crime levels in York are rising and are now above the average for similar City’s elsewhere in the country.

There are now no Community Constables identified for local neighbourhoods. Having a named police officer as a point of contact for local residents was an important contributor to reductions in crimes like anti social behavior, criminal damage and street level disturbances, which we saw until a few years ago.

Now they are gone and important links with the local community have been broken.

Nor do the candidates have anything to say about issues like road safety although the Tory has come out in favour of more speed cameras.

So it still looks like the farce of the 2012 PCC elections is set to be repeated on May 5th.



Who will be the new crime boss in York?

Only four candidates have come forward for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections which are taking place on 5th May.

Choose my PCCThe salary for the post is over £70,000. The current, Northallerton based, PCC also spends around £1 million a year on management expenses

The candidates are:

  • James Christopher Blanchard – Liberal Democrat Party Candidate
  • Julia Rosemary Mulligan – Conservative Party Candidate
  • Mike Pannett – Independent
  • Stephen Howley – Labour Party Candidate

All have managed to keep a low profile although both the Police and the  Crime Commissioner web sites are still advertising Julia Mulligans “surgeries”, despite the fact that we are now well into the “purdah” period during which public resources may not be used to promote individual candidates.

The keenness of the North Yorkshire police web site authors to promote the current PCC is in marked contrast to their ability to keep up to date more useful information on their site.PCC advice centre

Crime stats – which compare trends and performance against comparable areas – is not up to date. However, figures for York, up to last September, confirmed increasing crime rates and that crime is higher locally than in comparable City’s

It is many months now since the what’s on feature was updated on the Police web site, nor is there an identified Police Officer nominated as the lead for each ward (as was the case until 2011).

So what do the candidates say on these and other pressing issues?

No one knows.

The government has not provided a Freepost facility for candidates and even the comparative booklet (in which all candidates list their polices) will only be available on the web.  If you don’t have internet access then there is a telephone number that you can ring to get a copy of the booklet by post – however it is only advertised on the web (Catch 22!).

The telephone number is 0800 1070708

The independent Electoral Commission blamed poor voter turnout rates at the last PCC elections (held in 2012) on lack of communication from candidates

The government could have easily asked for manifesto information to be circulated with the Poll Cards that all electors will shortly receive. They could also have saved money by holding the election on the same day as the Euro referendum.

As it is, the £70,000 a year post doesn’t look like it will be seriously contested with another lamentably low turnout in prospect.

This would be a shame because the support services for the PCC are very expensive while the attitude of some of the staff working for the current incumbent have beenvariously patronising or evasive (see responses to questions posted to candidates).

Time for a change… but to what?

Polling day update including postal vote returns

The York Council has issued the following statement

Please find an elections update from Kersten England, Returning Officer for City of York.

“We can report a healthy turnout of voters across the city, predicted to be at least as high as at the last General Election.

“Like other local authorities, we are experiencing a high numbers of queries arising from the introduction of the individual electoral registration system, and our customer centre reception and telephone service will stay open until 7pm tonight to answer them.

“I can confirm that as at 4pm today, we’ve received and are processing 84% of the city’s postal votes: a higher return than in any previous election.

  “There is still time to vote: postal votes can be handed in to any polling station within your constituency. If you do not have a polling card, as long as you are registered, you’ll be able to vote. Details of polling stations are at”

Polling Day

Today is polling day in Westfield


There are six polling stations

KA       Sanderson Court Community House, Bramham Road, Chapelfields, York.

KB       Acomb Parish Church Hall, Front Street, Acomb, York.

KC       Westfield Primary Community School, Askham Lane, York.

KD       Welly Boots Creche, Energise, Cornlands Road. York.

KE       Hob Moor Community Primary School, Green Lane, York.

KF       Foxwood Community Centre, Cranfield Place, York.

You do not need your polling card to vote. Simply attend the polling station and give the presiding officer your name and address.

If you are in doubt about whether you are on the electoral register please give us a ring (York 794111) and we will check for you

There are a total of 13 candidates contesting the three vacant Councillor positions in the ward.

The three Liberal Democrat candidates are

  • Sue Hunter
  • Sheena Jackson
  • Andrew Waller

Any LibDem supporter requiring a lift to the polls should ring York 701727 (Foxwood York 794111) between the hours of 10:00am and 9:00pm. The polls close at 10:00pm

On arrival at the polling station you will be given two separate ballot papers.

There are 7 candidates contesting the parliamentary seat.

  • The Liberal Democrat Candidate is Nick Love

Liberal Democrats – working for Westfield 365 days a year

350 Askham Lane Focus May 2015 page 2 350 Askham Lane Focus May 2015 page 1 Pages 1 1114 colour Foxwood Focus Nov 14 A3 1214 colour Hob Moor Focus Pages 1 Dec 14 A3 914 colour Pages 1 Foxwood Focus Sept 14 A3 814 colour Page 1 Front Street Focus August 14 A3 614 colour Page 1  Cornlands Focus June 14 A3 514  Page 1 colour Hob Moor Focus May 14 A3 314 page 1 Foxwood Focus Feb 14 A3 214 page 1 colour Askham Lane  Focus Feb 14 A3 Westfield St Stephens Focus May 13 A3 page 1 Westfield Hob Moor Focus May 13 A3 Page 1 only Westfield Foxwood Focus June 13 A3 page 1 Westfield askham cornlands Focus June 13 A3 page 1 Hob Moor Focus Mar 13 A3 page 1 Hob Moor Cornlands Focus page 1 Nov 13 A3 d2 Cornlands page 1 Focus Nov 13 A3 1213  colour page 1 Foxwood Focus Dec 13 A3 1013  pages 1  Chapelfields  Focus Oct 13 A3 1013  page 1 Front Street Focus Oct 13 A3 813  colour Page  1 Cornlands Focus Aug 13 A3 813  pages 1 colour Hob Moor Focus Aug 13 A3 713 Page 1 colour Chapelfields Focus July 13 A3 713  colour Lowfields page 1 Focus July 13 A3 413  colour Chapelfields Focus Apr 13 A3 Page 1

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

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

Statement on postal votes by York election returning officer

 “Following the delivery last week of 17,500 postal votes across York, we’ve had returned and are processing over 77% of these already.

This means we’re on track to see a much higher return for postal votes than in any other previous election.

“Should any residents have not received their postal vote and have not already contacted the council about this, they should contact or call 01904 551 550 to speak to the team, so that we can look into what has happened and seek to find a solution in time for them to vote.

Our customer centre reception and telephone service is staying open to 7pm tonight to ensure maximum opportunity for residents to get in touch.

“Residents who have received their postal vote can post this by 4pm in a York post box, hand deliver it to the – Returning Officer at West Offices, Station Rise, York – during office hours or hand deliver it to any polling station in their constituency on polling day up to 10pm.

“I’d also like to reassure any residents who have not yet received their ballot paper or who no longer have their ballot paper for any reason, but are registered to vote, that they can still vote at any polling station in their constituency on polling day tomorrow”.