York Council election manifestos (Updated)

Postal voters in York will start to receive their ballot papers next week in preparation for the Council elections taking place on 2nd May

Some details of policies are emerging with the Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat parties now having published their manifestos “on line”. Click the links below to access them. Apparently the Conservatives haven’t published a 2019 manifesto. The link below is to their 2015 effort.




Conservative 2015

There are also 10 independents standing all with their own unique views. Those views vary from soft left to extreme right wing. Its anyone’s guess what policies they might pursue if elected. Most, however, lack active supporters, so just the task of getting an election address through everyone’s letterbox may be a challenge for some of them.

The Greens web site is a confused array of policy links with brevity and clarity a bit lacking.

NB. One presentational matter unites the parties. Most have opted to photograph their candidates “en masse”. The LibDems and Labour hold up placards or leaflets like a group of chauffeurs waiting outside the “Arrivals” gate at Manchester airport. The Greens – in the absence of placards – have hands to spare with most opting for a left handed version of a salute awkwardly reminiscent of that made famous by an Austrian some 80 years ago. The Tories don’t appear to have united their candidates yet to the point where individual or collective photos can actually be taken.

York Tory Leader must stand down

The decision of the Tory Council Leader, to try to sack his opposite number in the LibDem Group this week, is without precedent.

Cllrs Aspden and Carr

In doing so, Cllr Carr broke an agreement which had seen a stable administration take control of a Council which in 2015 had been badly bruised by a series of unpopular and impulsive decisions by its predecessor. That (Labour led) administration rightly paid a heavy penalty at the polls, the results of which also left the Council balanced with “no overall control”.

Many hoped for a return to the “committee system” where decisions were taken at meetings where the attendance reflected the political makeup of the Council. Sadly, that was not to be, but a more inclusive form of governance emerged with all parties now represented at Executive meetings.

It provided a platform for 4 years of stable government although few would have expected an entirely peaceful relationship given the differences between the Tory and LibDem parties at national level, not least on policies such as Europe.

Ironically, it appears that it was an officer decision to investigate the source of a leak to The Press newspaper that prompted last week’s meltdown. There hasn’t been a similar crisis in local government in the City since the then Council Leader Rod Hills was investigated by the Police in the early part of the last decade.

It is only recently that Council Leaders were given the powers to “hire and fire” Executive/Cabinet members at will.

It is a responsibility which needs to be exercised with caution and consideration. In a coalition arrangement, it also needs to be exercised through consent.

That clearly hasn’t happened.

The situation has been inflamed by Cllr Carr’s description of the allegations against two LibDem Executive members as “serious”.  Whether something is “serious” is a subjective judgement and one that may prejudice any consideration by the Councils Standards Board.

In the meantime, the coalition protocols are effectively suspended.  It will require good will on all sides if essential decision-making processes are to be exercised in the best interests of the people of York.

A more experienced Council Leader (Cllr Carr was first elected in 2015) would have found ways of mitigating any issues.  A good start would have been to consider the outcomes of any reference to the local Standards Board before taking unilateral action. Significantly, several Councillors – from all parties – have had their actions referred for investigation in the past but have continued to work as normal pending an judgement.

There is no happy outcome in prospect.

If the coalition is to continue for a while longer, then the Tories will have to replace their Leader with someone with more experience and flair.

That would allow a fresh start to be made with the interests of the City put above political posturing.

Liberal Democrat prospective MP to be selected on Monday evening


Liberal Democrat members are meeting on Monday 15th December to finalise the selection of a Parliamentary candidate who will contest the York Central seat in the General Election which is scheduled to take place on May 7th.

The result of the members ballot is expected to be known at around 8:00pm and details of the candidate will be announced shortly afterwards.

The meeting on Monday is the culmination of a process which has allowed any Liberal Democrat member, who is on the approved list of Parliamentary candidates, to apply for the position.

The party operates a “one member, one vote” system when selecting candidates and short listing is undertaken by local parties.

The sitting MP Hugh Bayley announced earlier in the month that he will not be seeking to retain his seat.

At the last General Election the Liberal Democrat candidate in York Central came within 6,879 votes of winning the seat.

2010 General Election result

LibDem local appointments

LibDem tieThe York Liberal Democrat Council Group has revealed their policy spokespeople following the start of the council’s 2014/15 civic year.

The Lib Dems, who are the joint largest opposition group on Labour run York Council, unanimously re-elected current leader Cllr Keith Aspden and deputy Cllr Ann Reid at their recent AGM, but have made a number of changes elsewhere.

New roles will see Group Leader Cllr Keith Aspden focus on community engagement, Cllr Keith Orrell lead the campaign to Save York’s Green Belt, Cllr Lynn Jeffries take on health and adult social care, and Cllr Ian Cuthbertson lead on Culture, Tourism and Leisure. (more…)