Burnley and Padiham Independent Party to run for Westminster

The independent leader of Burnley Council Charlie Briggs is the latest person to put their name forward to stand for parliament in the event of a general election.
Coun. Charlie BriggsCoun. Charlie Briggs
Coun. Charlie Briggs

Former Mayor of Burnley Coun. Briggs, has been announced as the parliamentary candidate for the Burnley and Padiham Independent Party, the group he currently represents on Burnley Council.

Whilst a general election has not yet been called, parties have been busy preparing candidates should Prime Minister Boris Johnson call an early election as the Brexit impasse continues.

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Coun. Briggs told the Express that Burnley needed an independent candidate such as himself to represent the borough in Westminster.

The former Liberal Democrat member broke away from the party with several colleagues in 2017, but said he did not wish to dwell on the past.

He said: "My number one priority is to make Burnley a more prosperous place. In my previous stint as leader of the council I think we made great strides in doing that. I'm obviously now leading the council again as part of the Burnley and Padiham Independent Party.

"I don't want to talk about the past but I will say that we are working very well with the Lib Dems on Burnley Council. Obviously Brexit is the big issue at the moment. The MPs in Westminster are currently running around like headless chickens playing games.

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"It's a complicated matter, but like a lot of Burnley people, I just want it to end. Ideally I'd like us to leave with a deal."

Coun. Briggs said his focus, should he be elected, would be making Burnley a better place to live, and said he was excited about the prospect of Burnley becoming a university town.

He added: "I think it's brilliant that UCLan is extending its presence in Burnley. However, I would also like to protect out greenfields from over development. We have a lot of brownfield sites in Burnley which could be developed."

Asked on his prospects of getting elected, should a general election be called, Coun. Briggs said he "never assumes anything", adding: "We need an independent voice for Burnley. I can do a lot for the borough in Westminster."

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Former Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle has already announced he will be standing for the Liberal Democrats in the event of a general election while the Brexit Party has named businessman Stewart Scott as its candidate.

The Burnley Express has contacted the Burnley Labour and Conservative parties who have both confirmed that their final candidate has not yet been selected.