A FORMER councillor has thrown a spanner in the works for next month’s county council elections.
Brendan Shiel, of Woodside Road, Huncoat, has put his name forward to stand in Accrington North against the official Labour candidate Jean Battle.
Mr Shiel, a former Labour member of Hyndburn Council, could now be thrown out of the party.
He could not be contacted for comment but Mrs Battle, who is defending her seat, said: "I am surprised. This is totally bizarre. Brendan has even been out canvassing with me.
"He has not put down the name of any party on his nomination forms and I understand he will not be doing any active campaigning. He could have his party membership taken from him for opposing the official candidate.
"This could divide the Labour vote and I am not happy. I am not over-confident, especially with the current national economic situation."
Labour leader Graham Jones said: "I don’t know what is going on and I don’t think Brendan does either. I think he just wants to stand somewhere as a Labour candidate and be included in these elections."
Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "I haven’t spoken to him but I think he wants to fight for Huncoat."
To add further intrigue to the ward, the Tories are not fielding a candidate, leading to speculation that they have done a deal with Independent candidate and ex-Labour man Malcolm Pritchard.
Mr Pritchard denied it and Councillor Britcliffe said: "There certainly is no deal although we have worked very closely with Malcolm in the past. He has given vital support to the council and we are urging Conservative voters in Accrington North to support him in this election."
Labour is defending all six Hyndburn county council seats in the 4 June elections.
The fight for Oswaldtwistle may be particularly fiery with Councillor Britcliffe running against Labour’s Dorothy Westell.
His Hyndburn Labour counterpart, Councillor Jones, will defend the Accrington South seat for Labour after sitting councillor Wendy Dwyer decided to retire.
Great Harwood’s Susan Shorrock is also stepping down to be replaced by Ciaran Wells.
Councillor Britcliffe said: "I think what we need to do is put an end to Labour spending. We can longer spend at the level we have been doing We need to squash some of the waste in the benefits system."
Councillor Jones said: "I think people’s main concern is for a better Hyndburn and a better Lancashire."
Speaking on behalf of his two fellow Independent candidates, Mr Pritchard said: "You can expect more from Independents than you can expect from the major parties. We want to work for the people and not the party."
The county council provides 85 per cent of all local government services in Lancashire and all 84 seats are up for grabs.
The current composition of the council is Labour 44, Conserv-atives 31, Liberal Democrats 6, Green 1, Idle Toad 1 and Independent 1.
The count will take place on Friday 5 June with results being announced at County Hall, Preston, throughout the day.
- JEAN BATTLE (Lab)
- Malcolm Pritchard (Ind)
- Brendan Shiel.
- John Barton (Con)
- Kerry Gormley (Green Party)
- Joseph Anthony Hindley (Ind)
- * Graham Jones (Lab).
- DOREEN POLLITT (Lab)
- Mohammed Younis (Con)
- Peter Clarke (Con)
- David Mason (Ind),
- * Ciaran Anthony Wells (Lab)
- Peter Britcliffe (Con)
- DOROTHY WESTELL (Lab).
Rishton and Clayton-le-Moors:
- Stan Horne (Con)
- MILES PARKINSON (Lab)
Capital letters denote a candidate seeking re-election. * denotes a new candidate defending the seat.