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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

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Labour gain two seats in Copeland

LABOUR has taken a stronger grip on Copeland after gaining two seats from the Conservatives on Cumbria County Council.

Eileen Weir ousted Graham Roberts in Bransty by only 13 votes, while Christine Wharrier – the former Unison representative at the West Cumberland Hospital – was voted in at Hillcrest and Hensingham ahead of previous incumbent Andrew Wonnacott.

The victories give Labour a nine-to-three majority over the Tories, bettering its position of seven-to-five in 2009.

Despite the boundary changes, the respective parties held seats in 10 of the 12 wards. It was a close call in Egremont North and St Bees however, where Henry Wormstrup (Labour) edged out Chris Whiteside (Conservative) by only 13 votes.

Other new faces on the council include Susan Hayman (Lab, Howgate), Brian Crawford (Con, Millom) and current borough councillor Keith Hitchen (Con, Millom Without).

Labour’s Tim Knowles (Cleator Moor East and Frizington), Frank Morgan (Cleator Moor West), David Southward (Egremont), Wendy Skillicorn (Kells and Sandwith), Mike Hawkins (Mirehouse) all held their seats. Norman Clarkson (Gosforth) was the only Conservative to do so.

However, the turnout was poor in Copeland with 14,833 people (only 27.2 per cent of those eligible) choosing to vote, a reduction from the 20,846 (37 per cent) in 2009.

The ward with the highest turnout was Gosforth with 33.4 per cent, and Cleator Moor West was the lowest with 22.5 per cent.

Coun Wormstrup, a Copeland councillor and former mayor, said he was “humbled” to be elected to the county council for the first time.

“It has been hard work – I knew it would be a tight contest – but this is just the beginning. I am proud to have been elected and I will do my very best for the people of Egremont North and St Bees.”

Coun Hitchen, also a Copeland borough councillor, a former mayor, and a Drigg and Carleton parish councillor, said: “The main thing is that I’m hoping to see how the county council has a view of rural proofing [a process that ensures the needs and interests of rural people, communities and businesses are considered in the development and implementation of policies and programmes].

“We can look at the development of rural communities, particularly how Bootle has been developing through local community groups.”

He added: “I’m a big supporter of unitary councils so this will be an opportunity for me to see how a unitary authority could work for Cumbria.”

Couns Wormstrup and Hitchen both told The News they intend to do double duty and continue in their respective roles on Copeland Council.

Christine Wharrier won the Hillcrest and Hensingham seat in her first foray into local government. She said: “I am very pleased to be elected. I would like to gain an understanding of the county council and how it works, so that I can help to make a difference in Copeland.

“I believe that people should be listened to and be heard – that’s what I hope to do. I want to be a voice for them. I’d like to think that will do my best for the people of Copeland at county level.”

Susan Hayman, for Howgate, said constituents have raised the state of roads as a priority.

“What people want is someone who is going to be visible and listen to people so we can get a feel of what is important,” she said.

“It’s difficult at a time of cuts to work out what the priorities are. I want to reassure people that their views are being heard and I will do my best.

“It’s so important to work with local people, including the parish council, borough council and community groups to find out what people are saying. I have been out and about talking to people and really looking forward to doing my best.”

New Bransty councillor Eileen Weir said: “It’s my privilege to have been elected and I will work to support Whitehaven town centre, on improvements to the roads across the division, and to protect vital frontline services helping those most in need in the community.”
In the Millom ward, Brian Crawford is a newcomer to the county council, but has been a dedicated community champion for many years.

A retired teacher, he is on Millom Town Council and the Friends of Millom Park group, and he will become the town’s mayor on May 29.

“I am pleased to be elected and I’m looking forward to serving the people of Millom in this capacity, continuing the sterling work of my predecessor Ray Cole.

“A place on the county council gives me a bigger platform to get things done.”

Labour polled a total of 7,029 votes and the Conservatives 5,609.

UKIP did not achieve the level of success it enjoyed in other parts on the country, although its four candidates across Copeland gained a total of 1,151 votes. The party’s best result saw Pamela Tyson finishing second in Egremont with 345 votes.

The other minority parties fared poorly at the polls. The British National Party gained 430 votes, the Greens 537 and the only Liberal Democrat to stand, Mike Minogue of Cleator Moor East and Frizington, polled 77.

In 2012/13, each county councillor received a basic allowance of £8,030 – with special responsibility allowances for members of various committees. The allowances for the forthcoming year will be agreed at the first meeting of the new full council on May 16.

Those who do double duty on Copeland Council also receive a basic £3,063.14 per year – plus special responsibility allowances – from the borough.

Full results

Weir, Eileen (580 votes)

Knowles, Timothy (594 votes)
Cleator Moor East and Frizington

Morgan, Frank (771 votes)
Cleator Moor West

Southward, David (663 votes)

Wormstrup, Henry (395 votes)
Egremont North and St Bees

Clarkson, Norman (1176 votes)

Wharrier, Christine (754 votes)
Hillcrest and Hensingham

Hayman, Susan (692 votes)

Skillicorn, Wendy (717 votes)
Kells and Sandwith

Crawford, Brian (551 votes)

Hitchen, Keith (829 votes)
Millom Without

Hawkins, Michael (696 votes)

  • A by-election was held for the Hensingham seat on Copeland Borough Council. Labour’s Allan Forster was elected with 670 votes, ahead of Conservative Genna Martin, 223.
Have your say

What we need is the Common Sense Party.
Immigrants welcome, if they lodge a £100,000 interest free deposit with the Bank of England first. All immigrants to be electronically tagged at port of entry, & trackable via GPS.
Same with convicted offenders. all of them to pay towards their court and prison costs.
These are a couple of ideas for starters...

Posted by David Scameron on 11 May 2013 at 17:46

Two more labour Muppet`only out for what they can get for themselves they don`t care about the people Copland, just in it for themselves...

Posted by lan on 10 May 2013 at 20:49

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