Thursday, 10 November 2011

Mike Beckett says 'A big thank you!'

Mike Beckett by Anne Pilgrim
Thank you for your support with the North Yorkshire County Council, Thornton Dale and the Wolds By-election campaign. Voting was held on Thursday the 27th October 2011 with the count starting at 10am on the following day.

The candidates' visions were set out in the Gazette and Herald. The paper also wrote about the Conservative's minor quibble about a quote which is a matter of public record. This I believe was done to draw attention from the Conservative candidate's voting record. Firstly, voting in favour of access for a housing development on part of the Manthorpe Park Playing Fields in Thornton-le-Dale. Secondly, more recently, following the Ryedale District Council Policy and Resources Committee on the 23 June 2011 on Item 7: Review of Civic Budget. It was resolved (link to minutes) following a proposal by Cllr Burr that the Civic Budget should be £6k on councillor expenses. These are specifically for the Chairman, Vice Chairman and councillor travel expenses etc. This matter was also considered by the full session of Ryedale District Council on the 18th July 2011 in Item 33: Review of Civic Budget (Item 33), minute 7. The minuted resolutions made, will make allowances payable directly to Councillors next year for specific jobs. I fear this will not subject payments made to Councillors to the scrutiny and accountability of a vote. More importantly at the moment, the conservative candidate in the byelection voted in this named vote, in favour of raising this budget for Councillor expenses from £6k against the proposal by the specialist committee to £10k. That's an extra £4k of our tax payer's money, in this time of austerity, when Councillors should lead by example! 
Mike Beckett with our dog campaigning in the
    countryside near Thixendale with beautiful horses

The day before the election, the Malton and Pickering Mercury press covered the campaign. I also wrote my last pre election update social media post. With the Conservative MP's staff out delivering to support their candidate they were heard to remark that even the work experience person was out helping to deliver - they clearly had to fight for this seat. I hope they fight just as hard for all the residents, who I think pay first class taxes but so often are getting second class services. We are threatened with third class services if cuts disproportionately further disadvantage our rural communities. With a Conservative led District and County Councils and MP, I am left wondering what the Tories have done for us locally and I conclude not enough.

Diana Wallis MEP, Cllr Mike Beckett, Former MP
Cllr Elizabeth Shields & Edward McMillan-Scott MEP 
Press coverage of the election results are here, this was my second time fighting the seat. I gained over a third of the vote which was a better result than the last two times for this a safe Conservative seat. Six years ago when I last stood, the then Conservative constituency agent, Cllr Pamela Anderson, had said "We could get a pig in a blue ribbon elected here". When I last stood the Tory majority for this County seat was 749. More recently in 2009, the Tory majority increased to 861, with a different candidate for the Liberal Democrats and an incumbent Tory councillor. Now, on October 28th count over a third of the eligible votes going to the Liberal Democrats candidate, the Tory majority was reduced to 548 - a reduction of 313 in the majority from the last result.
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Again thank you everyone for your help and support giving local people a choice.

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