Burnley Council Elections 2022: A guide to this year's elections ahead of Thursday's vote
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And there is real uncertainty over which party or parties will control the borough council.
Currently it is run by a Labour/Liberal Democrat partnership.
But that coalition still needed the support of UKIP or Green councillors or the casting vote of LibDem Mayor Coun. Anne Kelly to get its way.
Labour took power as a minority administration in September 2020 relying on LibDem support,
Last year the two partners won enough wards between them and had enough mutual trust to create a more formal written partnership.
Labour currently have 18 councillors, the LibDems eight, the Conservatives nine, the Greens five and the Burnley and Padiham Independents five.
It needs the support of 23 of the 45 councillors to form an administration.
In January 2020 the three UKIP councillors quit the party to join the Tories and in June that year its leader Alan Hosker became boss of his new party’s council group the suspension of his predecessor Coun. Andrew Newhouse who joined the Burnley and Pendle Independents and lost his Cliviger with Worsthorne seat last year. This year Coun. Newhouse is standing as a Green in Whittlefield with Ightenhill
It was Coun. Hosker’s decision to pull the two Tory councillors – veterans Cosima Towneley and Ivor Emo – out of the alliance cabinet which sparked the collapse of what Labour had
dubbed the ‘coalition of chaos’ and laying bare divisions between the ex-UKIP recruits and more traditional Conservatives in the group.
Labour leader Coun. Afrasiab Anwar is hoping his party bounce back from two bad results including last year when they lost four wards.
Another interesting subplot is that Coun. Anwar, LibDem leader Cllr Gordon Birtwistle and Green Party boss Cllr Andy Fewings are all up for re-election.
The Tories are hopeful of defending their three council seats despite moving Coun. Commis from Hapton with Park and Coun. Ferrier from Whittlefield with Ightenhill.
They also have faint hopes of wresting Gawthorpe and Rosegrove with Lowerhouse from Labour as veteran councillors Frank Cant and Bea Foster stand down.
However their leader Coun. Hosker admits: “I think the national situation may hold us back but this is about local issues not national ones.”
The Burnley and Padiham Independent Party will be hoping their sitting councillor Neil Mottershead hangs on in Gannow.
Coun. Birtwistle’s assessment is that local issues matter most in the campaign and he stresses his own experience and that of his defending councillors – Gordon Lishman in Briercliffe and Geoff Sumner in Rosehill with Burnley Wood – as reasons for backing the party.
But overall the former MP said: “I don’t expect much change next week. Perhaps the odd seat here or there but overall much the same.”
Which means that Burnley Council looks set for a continuation of the coalitions and chaos of the past three years.
Just about what you might expect in a Labour stronghold borough which in 2019 elected its first Tory MP in 109 years against the current background of Downing Street and Boris Johnson’s ‘Partygate’.
Confused voters caught in the maze of modern day Burnley politics only know one thing – their vote cold really make a difference on Thursday.
BURNLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL CANDIDATES:
Bank Hall – Afrasiab Anwar (Labour), Julie Hurt (Green), Susan Nutter (Conservative)
Briercliffe – Vic Alker (Green), Gordon Lishman (Liberal Democrat), Lian Pate (Labour & Co-operative), Richard Sagar (Con)
Brunshaw – Alex Hall (Green), Claire Ingham (Con), Christine Sollis (Lab)
Cliviger with Worsthorne – Ivor Emo (Con), Nussrat Kazmi (Lab), Jack Launer (Green)
Coalcough with Deerplay – Gordon Birtwistle (Lib Dem), Janet Hall (Green), Bill Horrocks (Lab), Linda Whittaker (Con)
Daneshouse with Stoneyholme – Josh Gillies (Con), Mohammed Haji-Nazrul (Lib Dem), Shah Hussain (Lab), Craig Simpkin (Green)
Gannow – Helen Bridges (Green), Neil Mottershead (Independent), Thomas Watson (Con), Fiona Wild (Lab)
Gawthorpe – Joe Davis (Green), Alun Lewis (Lab), Nicola Thompson (Con)
Hapton with Park – Jamie McGowan (Con), Duncan Reed (Green), Abdul Salek (Labour)
Lanehead – Mark Alker (Green), Tom Commis (Con), Sue Graham (Lab), Pippa Lishman (Lib Dem)
Queensgate – Syeda Kazmi (Lab), Jai Redman (Green), Bailey Webster (Con)
Rosegrove with Lowerhouse – James Anderson (Ind), Gail Barton (Lab), Jane Davis (Green), Peter McCann (Lib Dem), Maison McGowan-Doe (Con)
Rosehill with Burnley Wood – Margaret Brindle (Lab), Tony Davis (Green), Kev Shackell (Con), Jeff Sumner (Lib Dem)
Trinity – Dale Ferrier (Con), Andy Fewings (Green), Stephen Reynolds (Lab)
Whittlefield with Ightenhill – Mitchell Cryer (Ind), Andrew Newhouse (Green), Nicola Sedgwick (Ind), Shaun Sproule (Lab), Mike Steel (Con).