Local and Euro-elections 2014
This years’ Local Elections for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council will take place on Thursday 22nd May. Elections to the European Parliament are held on the same day.
In Blackburn candidates will seek re-election or election in all fifteen wards and of those seats Labour currently hold 11 wards with the other four available seats being held by the Conservatives. In Higher Croft there will be a double election due to the recent sad death of longstanding Councillor, Dorothy Walsh.
These elections are about having your say as to who runs the local Council and also about sending a message to the ConDem Government. Blackburn with Darwen Council has faced the worst Government budget cuts in living memory – these and the general policies of the Government are causing hardship for many in our community. Locally the Labour controlled Council is doing its best to maintain services in increasingly impossible circumstances but we would urge voters to come out and support Labour to send a clear message to the Government – we don’t want your policies.
Labour’s candidates are listed below. For more information follow the links on the left from the ‘Local Elections 2014′ tab.
Audley: Cllr Salim Sidat
Bastwell: Cllr Parwaiz Akhtar
Beardwood with Lammack: Paul Mason
Corporation Park: Cllr John Wright
Ewood: Jim Casey
Higher Croft: Cllr Andy Kay & Don McKinlay
Little Harwood: Cllr Pat McFall
Livesey with Pleasington: Charlotte McKenna
Meadowhead: Julie Gunn
Mill Hill: Cllr Jim Smith
Queens Park: Cllr Salim Mulla
Roe Lee: Ron Whittle
Shadsworth with Whitebirk: Cllr Tony Humphrys
Shear Brow: Hussain Akhtar
Wensley Fold: Cllr Mohammed Khan
Kate Hollern is Blackburn candidate for 2015 General Election
Following the biggest Blackburn Labour Party meeting held in many years Councillor Kate Hollern, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council was this Sunday (30th March) selected as Parliamentary candidate for the 2015 General Election.
Almost 200 members packed into the Windsor Suite at King George’s Hall to hear the four candidates speak about their hopes to be selected for Blackburn and take questions from members.
Join the Labour Party and support our campaigns to oust the ConDems
Day after day more people join the campaign against the ConDems by joining the Labour Party. In Blackburn we are seeing day in day out the impact of Tory policies on our communities. Unemployment is up (whatever the Government might say) and shops and factories are closing. At the same time the Government thinks it’s a clever idea to cut public sector spending – taking £27 million off Blackburn Council and forcing up to another 500 onto the jobless lists – and to cut the benefits of those on the lowest incomes already (through cuts to Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, and by cancelling individual Jobseeker claims). It’s ok though – because they are cutting taxes for the richest millionnaires in our country! We at the Labour Party are determined to fight against the kinds of policies mentioned above. This country can’t afford a Tory Government. If you feel the same way as we do please join the Labour Party and find out more about how you can help the campaign. Click on the link https://www.labour.org.uk/join/
Blackburn’s lesser known Labour MPs
With the important hustings meeting taking place on Sunday we thought we’d look back into the archives of Blackburn Labour history and the MPs who have represented the town. Most will know of Philip Snowden who was Blackburn’s first Labour MP and represented the town from 1906 to 1918 and later went on to become Chancellor of the Exchequer. Barbara Castle, who represented the town in Parliament from 1945 to 1979 needs little introduction with her pioneering work on equal pay for women, the introduction of the seat belt and the breathalyser; and current MP Jack Straw is the town’s longest serving Parliamentarian of all, having represented the town for over 34 years as well as holding two out of the three ‘Great Offices of State’ (Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary).
However, three lesser known Labour Parliamentarians have also represented the people of Blackburn.
From 1929 to 1931 the then two member seat was won by Harry Gill and Mary Hamilton. This being the first election at which women aged over 21 could vote the electorate rose from 65,000 to 86,000 and the new electorate duly responded by returning the town’s first ever female MP.
After 1931 the double seat was held by the Conservatives until Labour re-gained both in the 1945 Labour Landslide, with Barbara Castle being voted in alongside Lewis John Edwards. Sadly Edwards lost in 1950 when Blackburn constituency was changed from a two member seat to an ‘East and West’ seat with the West being more rural and Conservative leaning. He went on to represent Labour in Brighouse and Spenborough and was briefly Economic Secretary to the Treasury. Edwards died young at 55 whilst on European Council Business in Brussels in 1959.
Bingo Tax cut – Osborne’s budget proves how out of touch Tories are
In an astonishing show of how patronising and out of touch the Tory Government really is George Osborne’s main announcement in yesterday’s budget was that bingo tax is to be cut. Never mind the fact that wages have dropped, the economy is stagnant and people are forced to live off food bank handouts. public schoolboy Osborne said nothing about investing (a VAT cut would be a great way to stimulate the economy). Instead Osborne thinks he can keep ‘hardworking people’ (code for peasants) quiet by encouraging them to spend their hard earned cash in bingo halls!
It’s time for change – only Labour can turn this round in 2015.
Members attend Parliamentary candidate ‘meet and greet’
Sunday 16th March saw almost 60 local Labour members visit Accrington Road Community Centre for an informal chance to meet candidates and hear about their priorities for Blackburn. the selection process will be concluded on Sunday 30th March.
Anthony Wedgewood Benn 1925-2014
Friday 14th March 2014. Today the Labour Party mourns the loss of one of the greatest figures in its history. Many Blackburn Labour Party members met Benn over the years and were witness to his impassioned speeches on the values of socialism. He will be sadly missed and his contributions recognised for many years to come.
Parliamentary shortlist announced
Following a series of interviews with candidates the Blackburn Labour Party selection committee has announced that members will choose from the following shortlist of hopefuls: Naheed Arshad-Mather Ann Courtney Kate Hollern Sara Ibrahim the selection process will be concluded on Sunday 30th March
Large Attendance at Brownhill Residents’ Meeting
Around 70 residents filled Holy Souls Church Hall at Jack’s most recent residents’ meeting on Friday 28th February. Speeding traffic on Parsonage Road, the economy and Blackburn’s regeneration were amongst the issues raised. A number of residents complimented Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council for its efforts to keep services going in spite of massive Government budget cuts.
Dorothy Walsh (1935-2014)
Blackburn Cathedral was packed with relatives, friends and former Labour Party comrades as people gathered to remember Councillor Dorothy Walsh who had passed away following a short illness. Attendees, including Blackburn’s MP, Jack Straw, were united in grief and recognition of Dorothy’s contribution to Blackburn Labour Party over the past quarter of a century.
Nomination Process for 2015 General Election well underway
As members will know the process for the selection of Blackburn’s next Labour parliamentary candidate is underway and will conclude within the next few weeks. Members of all 15 wards have been attending nomination meetings prior to the selection committee drawing up a final shortlist. Hustings will follow next month and then there will be a final vote of all members. If you have any questions about the process please get in touch.
Hardy residents turn out for first residents’ meeting of 2014
About 25 hardy residents braved gales and monsoon rains to attend Jack’s first residents’ meeting of 2014 at St Luke with St Philip Church on Bank Top. Attendees from the Griffin, Galligreaves, Redlam and Witton areas raised concerns about public transport, the environment and the future of Griffin Lodge, which was the target of an arson attack recently.
Traffic and parking issues raised at Lammack residents meeting
Highways issues were the most notable concerns raised at Jack Straw’s final residents’ meeting of 2013, held at Lammack Primary School on Friday 29th November. The areas with the most problems were noted as Lammack Road, Whinney Lane and Ramsgreave Drive. Sections of Beardwood were also mentioned at the well attended meeting.
Jack Straw awarded ‘Lifetime Achievement in Politics Prize’
The Political Studies Association, at its annual award ceremony to honour the contribution made by politicians, academics, journalists, and campaigners to another historic year of political activity, announced Blackburn MP Jack Straw’s award this Tuesday. Jack Straw was selected for a Lifetime Achievement in Politics award by the PSA for his profound and sustained contribution to political life in Britain over more than thirty years. He has held two of the Great Offices of State, first as Home Secretary from 1997 to 2001, and then as Foreign Secretary from 2001 to 2006. An astute political operator, popular in the House of Commons with MPs from all parties, he cleverly avoided being too closely associated with the factionalism that characterised the Labour party under Blair and Brown, and played a pivotal role in the passing of the Human Rights Act 1998. The event, held in the heart of Westminster at Church House, was hosted by Michael Crick of Channel 4 News. CEO of the Political Studies Association, Helena Djurkovic, said: “Jack Straw is undoubtedly one of the major figures of the Labour Party. He has had a significant impact on the political life of this country for over thirty years but particularly for his work steering through human rights and race relations legislation that he is to be commended.”
Business as usual in Blackburn – Friday 8th November
In spite of Jack’s big announcement during October it was business as usual on Jack’s constituency day last Friday (8th November). Amongst Jack’s engagements were a visit to local employer, Heritage Envelopes of Davyfield Road, where Jack presented a long service certificate to Steven Morgan; 27 groups of constituents met with Jack at his Mill Hill and Little Harwood advice surgeries and the day finished with a well attended Residents’ Meeting at St Francis School, Cherry Tree.
Jack Straw to step down at 2015 General Election
Blackburn MP, Jack Straw announced to local Labour Party members at the October 2013 meeting that he will be retiring in 2015 after 36 years in Parliament. Mr Straw had achieved the milestone of becoming Blackburn’s longest serving MP ever in March of this year. Members were unanimous in their applause for Jack’s contribution to the town during his period of office and look forward to working for him up until his retirement and in the coming years.
Lots of issues raised at Jack Straw October Residents’ meetings
Residents were vocal at both of Jack’s October residents’ meetings – held at Bangor Street Community Centre and Ewood Park respectively. Issues raised varied from concerns about the general state of the economy to concerns about speeding traffic and ‘racing’ on Whalley New Road to questions about how the Pennine Reach scheme will be implemented. Jack will be in Lammack and Cherry Tree during November.
The spirit of the Labour Party – helping out colleagues in the Ribble Valley
Blackburn Labour members (joined by Jack Straw) have been out in force helping out friends in the Ribble Valley. An important Council by-election took place in Clitheroe on Thursday, 1st August, after the sitting Tory Councillor was forced to step down due to her non-attendance at Council meetings. It’s some years since Clitheroe had a Labour Councillor but we’re working hard to get back onto the Council and ensure that there is a voice in the Council offices to speak for the many Clitheroe residents who are currently excluded from local politics because all of the sitting Councillors are from the Conservative or Lib Dem Parties – the very Parties that are implementing damaging policies which are punishing those on low incomes for the failings of greedy bankers – whilst cutting taxes for the richest in our society.
Standing united against the Bedroom Tax Blackburn demonstration Friday 5th April 2013
Ten years of residents’ meetings – celebrated at Ivy Street Community Centre
Friday 15th March 2013. Jack Straw returned to the scene of his first ever residents’ meeting, which had taken place ten years and two weeks previously on the 28th February 2003. It’s amazing to think that what initially was intended as a one off session to hear residents complaints about crime and poor housing would become an established part of Jack Straw’s role as Blackburn MP. Over 100 meetings have since been held around Blackburn – in venues as varied as Community Centres, schools, churches and even the press suite at Ewood Park. The continuing popularity of these meetings has ensured that they are generally accepted as one of the best ways of local people holding those in charge of decision making personally accountable.
4th March 2013 – Jack Straw – Blackburn’s longest serving MP (ever!) 33 years, 9 months, 27 days (so far)
On March 3rd Blackburn’s MP, Jack Straw, passed a major milestone – beating his predecessor Barbara Castle’s record as the longest serving MP since the Parliamentary seat for Blackburn was established in 1832. The next longest serving MP for Blackburn was Conservative, Sir William Coddington, who held the seat for 26 years, from 1880 to 1906. Bill Jacobs of the Lancashire Telegraph interviewed Jack recently. To view his article visit the Telegraph website http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/news/10263163.Jack_Straw___I_m_going_to_stand_at_the_next_General_Election_/
Jack Straw – commemorating victims of the Holocaust
Recently Jack signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who died during the Holocaust. Sunday January 27th marked the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history. In the weeks running up to the day, the Holocaust Educational Trust placed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, giving MPs the chance to honour those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust and encouraging constituents to work together to combat prejudice and racism today. In signing the Book of Commitment, Jack paid tribute to those who perished during the Holocaust and honoured the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about what they endured, through the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Outreach programme.
Tories target deprived areas yet again – Blackburn amongst the worst hit.
Yet again our Conservative Government, backed by the Liberal Democrats, is seeking to punish those on low incomes, living in deprived areas, for the irresponsible behaviour of the banking sector. Blackburn with Darwen – already having to deal with the last round of Government budget cuts which took a quarter of the budget – is now facing further cuts of up to 20% more – making it even more difficult to keep services going. At the same time the Government persists with its policy of tax cuts for millionnaires! Read Kate Hollern’s blog for more.
Countdown to the end of Cameron’s cronies!
As we welcome in a damp and grey 2013 the fight against the cruel and destructive policies of Cameron’s Tories and Nick Clegg’s Lib Dems resumes. The General Election is now less than 3 years away and with the Tories boundary changes set to fail we will be supporting colleagues in a number of Tory marginal constituencies so that they have even fewer seats after the next election than they do now. Comments made by the likes of Cameron – who thinks the country’s going in the right direction! Duncan-Smith – who says that Tax Credits (helping people into work) have created benefit dependency! and Eric Pickles who thinks that all Councils need to do to save the £millions he’s announced is stop provision of mineral water at meetings! Continue to prove what a bunch of out of touch buffoons are in charge of the country. If you would like to help with our campaigns please join the Labour Party by following the link on this website.
Blackburn Labour Party supports Council ‘Your Call’ campaign
The budget cuts being introduced by the ConDem Government mean hard times for many people – particularly in areas like Blackburn with Darwen – where the additional loss of ‘Area Based Grants’ has meant £millions more lost from the budget – affecting schemes such as Housing Market Renewal. These grants were introduced and targetted specifically at deprived communities to assist in improving peoples lives – HMR alone has meant £tens of millions have been invested in Blackburn. However, this loss of Government money has not resulted in our Labour Council sacrificing its commitment to helping communities. Under Kate Hollern and her team’s leadership the Council has worked to protect core services and invest where possible. And the ‘Your Call’ campaign is a big part of this – highlighting to residents how difficult things are at the moment and how residents can help to keep the town going. Many residents around Blackburn have been involved in clean ups and other events and the Council is supporting community groups in organising their own events. Visit the Council website www.blackburn.gov.uk for more information.
Thousands demonstrate in Blackburn
Trade Union members, Labour Party members, public sector workers and private sector workers came together in their thousands in Blackburn town centre today (November 30th) to demonstrate against the ConDem Government attacks on public sector pensions and to demand fair pensions for all. Lets make this more than just a one off strike and demonstration. This must be the start of a concerted effort to get the message across and get this ConDem Government, led by multi-millionaires out, and a return to fair policies. Visit the link to see a video of the rally.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmjiE1MuYJ8
Demonstration and march in Blackburn Town Centre – 30th November at 11.30am
Members of Blackburn Labour party will be supporting public sector workers on Wednesday 30th November as they converge on King William Street in Blackburn Town Centre to demonstrate on ConDem Government attacks on Pensions. Cameron’s cronies are determined to punish those working in vital services for the greedy actions of bankers across the world – dipping into pension funds that workers have contributed to over many years – as they try to balance the books of the UK’s failing economy. It’s time the Government was sent a message that its cruel policies just aren’t working so please support the demonstration on November 30th.
Labour endorsed by Blackburn electorate amidst fantastic Local Elections – 5 seats gained across Blackburn and Darwen
Following a hard fought campaign across Blackburn and Darwen Labour came out comfortably on top with 5 seats gained from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and For Darwen. In the seats Labour was defending majorities were increased across the board as the Labour vote remained almost as high as in last year’s General Election. In Blackburn Lib Dem Muntazir Patel was beaten by Labour’s Hanif Khonat, whilst the Tories were beaten in Meadowhead and Roe Lee. In Darwen the Leader of the For Darwen Party – Tony Melia – was beaten by Labour’s Brian Taylor and Lib Dem Simon Huggill was beaten by Frank Connor. ‘This is a wholehearted rejection of the ConDem policies that are wrecking the good work done by the last Labour Government in securing a stable economy and protecting jobs’, said Blackburn Labour Party Chair, Damian Talbot, who had been re-elected to the Mill Hill Ward – doubling Labour’s majority in 2007. ‘We would like to thank all those who came out to support Labour in these elections and we will be working hard to protect services and jobs in spite of crippling Government cuts’, said Labour Party Secretary, Phil Riley, after beating Tory stalwart, Maureen McGarvey, in Roe Lee Ward. Visit our Local Election page for details of the campaign and of your local Labour candidate.
Fatal Flaws in the ConDem deficit argument
At a recent meeting of the Blackburn Labour Party, attended by MP, Jack Straw, there was much debate surrounding the ConDem Government’s repeated claims that the harsh cuts it is imposing are caused by the national budget deficit which they took over from the outgoing Labour Government. The ConDem argument is now under intense scrutiny and is quickly crumbling as a result. There’s sure to be more debate but just to open it up have a look at these articles recently published in ‘The Investor’s Chronicle’ http://www.investorschronicle.co.uk/Columnists/ChrisDillow/article/20100920/b6bdf3ea-c4ac-11df-b281-00144f2af8e8/The-deficit-threat.jsp and http://www.investorschronicle.co.uk/Columnists/ChrisDillow/article/20100215/1b8f8020-1a1e-11df-b0bd-0015171400aa/The-myth-of-the-structural-deficit.jsp
Jack Straw addresses Labour Party Conference
Jack received a standing ovation after delivering his last speech as a Labour Party front bencher. His record was applauded by colleagues including former Home Secretary Alan Johnson and New Leader Ed Miliband. To read Jack’s speech in full click here.
Labour takes control of the Council
For the last three years Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has been run by a Tory led coalition in partnership with the Liberal Democrats and the small For Darwen Party. Their time in power has proved unpopular as they spent extravagantly at first; particularly in the areas they represented, and abandoned the principle of funding on the basis of needs previously adopted. This inevitably hit the most vulnerable members of the community as services were withdrawn in the areas needed and charges were levied for previously free services After campaigning against this approach Labour made a number of gains in this years May elections making them the largest party with 31 of the 64 seats. After the elections it became clear that the Coalition had prepared secret plans to cut back services even further in order to balance the books. They announced the closure of Shadsworth Leisure Centre and four Community Centres, all in the poorest & deprived areas of the Borough. They also announced reviews aimed at introducing savage cuts in areas such as libraries, adult and children’s services and in leisure activities. As a result members of the public across the Borough reacted by signing petitions and marching in their hundreds to protest at the Town Hall- this achieved regional TV and national press coverage. Despite this the Coalition seemed to be determined to push through their damaging policies and as a result two of the For Darwen Party – one who held the portfolio for culture, leisure and sport – announced they were unable to continue to support the present administration and consequently they were resigning and would sit as independents. Interviewed by the press they have gone on record as saying they would support a Labour led administration because they had more confidence in Labour’s ability to implement any future cutbacks fairly and in an equitable way. At the Council meeting on September 14th, a vote of no confidence in Tory Council Leader Michael Lee was carried 33 for and 29 against and Kate Hollern, leader of the Labour Group, was appointed to form a new Labour administration.
An invitation to join a fairer future
There has never been a better time to join the Labour Party and show your support. What makes it even better, is that if you are under 27 you can join for just £1! Since the election we have had over 3,000 new members in the North West alone, a true sign of growing support for Labour’s policies. If you join the Labour Party before Wednesday 8th September you can vote for who you want to be the next Leader of the Party. Join now.
Labour poised to take control
The Labour Party in Blackburn with Darwen is poised to take control as a further Special Council Meeting is due to take place on September 14th. After two For Darwen Councillors – fed up with the unfair cuts being made by the Tory led coalition – resigned from the controlling group the Council now hangs in the balance – with Labour on 31, the coalition on 31 and 2 independents. At the special meeting Labour Group Leader, Kate Hollern, will table a motion of no confidence in the controlling group and proposing that Labour takes charge. Labour was by far and away the most successful party in this years’ local elections and has gain 4 seats during 2010 – showing a clear swing in public opinion towards its policies. The public are welcome to attend the Special Meeting.
Victory for the people!
The future of Blackburn and Darwen’s community centres and Shadsworth Leisure Centre is now a step closer to being secured following a bad tempered meeting at Blackburn Town Hall. The meeting – an ‘Extraordinary Council’ was called by Labour Members angry at Tory led proposals to close a number of community centres and Shadsworth Leisure Centre, as well as making a series of cuts to local services. The Council Chamber was once again packed as over 100 protesters came along to watch proceedings including a speech by Terry Morley who had previously handed in a 6000 name petition in support of Shadsworth Leisure Centre. The Labour Group won all three votes on the motions presented and as a result the decisions to close the centres and cut services have now been referred back to the Executive Board for further consideration. The next important meeting is the Executive Board at 6pm on Thursday 12th August in the Town Hall at which there will be further debate on the ongoing cuts.
If the Tory Council and Government ever had a honeymoon period it is well and truly over only 2 months after the General Election. Last night (8th July) hundreds of demonstrators descended on Blackburn Town Hall to protest against a decision being forced through by the Tory/Lib Dem Coalition to close Shadsworth Leisure Centre, Ivy Street Community Centre, Little Harwood Community Centre, Shadsworth Community Centre and Sudellside Community Centre. The protest rally was addressed by Shadsworth with Whitebirk Councillor, Tony Humphrys who said that local people would suffer as a result of this decision. In the packed Town Hall the atmosphere was of anger as in spite of strong arguments from the public and Labour Councillors the decision was forced through. The Tories were sent a clear message though – we will not stand for the decimation of public services – which will hit the most deprived areas hardest. More protests will follow. Special Council Meeting Tuesday 20th July 6pm at Blackburn Town Hall. Following Labour pressure there will be an emergency Council meeting tonight where the cuts will be further challenged. The public can attend this meeting and observe proceedings. Tory Cuts to Police will lead to rising crime Years of hard work and campaigning by Jack Straw and Blackburn Labour Party will be reversed in the coming months as the Tories refusal to protect front line services means that hundreds of local police will will be axed. Shortly before the recent General Election it was announced that crime in Lancashire was at its lowest levels since 1973 – mainly thanks to the pioneering work carried out by Labour in developing community based police officers. The Tories spent most of the election claiming that we had a ‘broken Britain’. We at Blackburn Labour Party would like to ask exactly how they think cutting police numbers is going to help ‘fix’ the country? Read Damian Talbot’s blog for more comment about the cuts being made locally. Cllr John Wright slams council failure on waste in Corporation Park Our Labour team in Corporation Park ward have recorded the video below to illustrate some of the problems faced by residents in the wake of council cuts to cleaning services. Cllr John Wright highlights a disgusting scene as abandoned food and other household waste is left to rot in a back alley. Rather than acting promptly to clean up the mess, the council have put stickers on the bins and then ignored the problem for weeks.