Following our series in relation to last week’s General Election, it is quite evident that the result is still very much at the forefront of the nation’s interest. Although, as an independent, local and online publication we attempt to remain impartial with national politics, we do of course have an interest in the local politics.
We contacted each of the respective candidates, and asked them for their reaction to last week’s result, and will be taking a look at the statistics, to better understand what exactly happened, and what direction Skipton and Ripon are going in.
Over the next few days, we will be publishing each of these reactions, unabridged and in their own words, starting with a letter from Alan Woodhead, the Labour candidate, who although did not win a seat in the constituency, saw a relatively dramatic rise in the number of votes, when compared to previous elections.
“I would like to take the opportunity of writing to you to express my thanks to the very many people within the Skipton and Ripon Constituency who voted for me in the General Election 8th June 2017.
Having congratulated him in person at the count in Skipton Town Hall, I’d also like to use this opportunity to repeat these congratulations to Mr Julian Richard Smith. He will again have the honour of representing the voters and residents in this constituency.
I know it is a great part of the country as I have lived in the constituency for almost 30 years, was born & brought up less than 35 miles away, and as an adult, before I moved here, having travelled through it, probably at the very least, a couple of times every year.
The Labour Party vote in the constituency almost doubled in June 2017 compared with the vote in May 2015. I understand that it went up from 9,487 to 16,440, an increase of 6,953 votes or by 73%. This is the highest ever vote for a Labour Party candidate in this parliamentary seat since it was formed in 1983. The highest previous vote for Labour was the year of a Labour landslide. In that year, 1997, the vote was 12,171.
I expect that this increase in vote from 2015 was aided by a significant increase in the number of people voting. Almost 4,000 additional people voted this year compared with 2 years ago. I understand the figure went from 54,559 to 58,333, which is +3,774 or almost +7%.
I further understand that 74.7% of the electorate turned out to vote in 2017 compared with 71.6% in 2015. This latest proportion is really good. But if we want to remove the Tories, with all who are able to exercise our hard fought for democratic voting rights, it would be great if even more people voted.
As the increase in the Labour vote was 6,953 this could, perhaps, be accounted for by all of the increase in the number of people voting for Labour in addition to all of Liberal Democrat voters from 2015 voting Labour. The Green Party here claims they had a progressive alliance with the Liberal Democrats. Do the figures bear this out? What exactly happened in the polling booths will have to be a matter of speculation.
The Labour Party is growing in strength, not only in Skipton and Ripon but across the nation. We will be closely watching the Conservative Party in its attempts at Governing our great country, supported by the Democratic and Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland. We will need to make sure that all parts of the UK benefit from this emerging arrangement and also watch carefully to ensure that our British Citizens Rights, which are already not as good as those of EU citizens in the UK, taken together with our Human Rights, are not eroded further. Such rights really ought to be at least maintained by any UK Government which truly cares about all its people.
Ideally, they should be enhanced to match anyone living in the UK, or for the betterment of society enhanced to exceed those of our near neighbours.”