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Experience counts in knife-edge poll

LABOUR is confident of tightening its grip on Hyndburn Council in next month's local elections.

LABOUR is confident of tightening its grip on Hyndburn Council in next month's local elections.

After announcing a list of experienced candidates, group leader Ian Ormerod said he expected the council to move away from its current knife-edge situation of 18 Labour members to 17 Tories.

He said: "We obviously haven't been able to do everything in the 12 months we have been in control but some of our achievements have been remarkable.

"The hottest potato has been the recycling scheme. There have been a couple of teething problems but it is something that most people want to be part of.''

Councillor Ormerod said other successes were:

Taking the Cabinet out to meet the people.

Opening the Broadway rates and benefits office on Saturday mornings to cater for people who cannot get into town during the week.

Providing two wagons to clean up the back streets of the borough.

Councillor Ormerod said he did not think the Gulf War would have an effect on the outcome of the elections as both major parties supported military action and it had nothing to do with local politics.

He was pleased that, contrary to rumour, the BNP had not put any candidates forward. He said: We have worked extremely hard on community affairs. We are one community, not a diverse set of different people.''

Labour's team includes six sitting councillors defending their seats - Miles Parkinson in Altham, Wendy Dwyer in Barnfield, John Broadley in Church, John Burke in Clayton-le-Moors, Brendan Shiel in Huncoat and Malcolm Pritchard in Milnshaw.

Husband-and-wife team John and Colette McCormack will be bidding for seats in the St Oswald's and Immanuel wards of Oswaldtwistle.

John has served on the council previously, while his wife came within 23 votes of winning Immanuel last year and is believed by the party to be in with a real shout this time round.

The other four candidates are all former councillors.

Richard Heap, who stood down after around 12 years because of work commitments, is aiming to make a comeback in Central; Bill Whittaker, who previously served as a member for Great Harwood, is trying his hand in Baxenden; funeral director Dennis Baron, who won Immanuel in a by-election 18 months ago but lost the seat last May, is the candidate for Overton ward in his home town of Great Harwood; and Lesley Jackson, sister of Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Margaret Beckett, will be trying to regain the Rishton seat she lost last year.

The Tories had already announced their candidates and there is just one other nominee, firefighter Ian Dixon who will stand for the Green Party in Barnfield.


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist