Seven candidates line up to be Burnley's next MP
Seven final confirmed candidates will battle it out to become Burnley’s next Member of Parliament.
Labour’s Julie Cooper, who has been elected in the last two general elections, will hope to hold onto her seat against the challenge from Conservative Antony Higginbotham, Liberal Democrat Gordon Birtwistle, Burnley and Padiham Independent Party’s Charlie Briggs, the Brexit Party’s Stewart Scott, the Green Party’s Laura Fisk and independent candidate Karen Helsby Entwistle.
The nation will go to the polls on Thursday, December 12th, with Brexit dominating the agenda.
Burnley’s last MP, Julie Cooper, launched her election campaign last week at Turf Moor.
In attendance was Peter Pike, the Labour MP for Burnley and Padiham between 1983 and 2005, who endorsed Julie’s campaign.
Mrs Cooper said: “In the past four years it has been my privilege to champion Burnley in Parliament. From our excellent schools, to our brilliant manufacturing industries, I have been an advocate in the corner of our town.
“At last count I have completed 9,500 pieces of casework on behalf of the residents of Burnley and Padiham on a whole range of issues brought to me at my surgeries and through my office.
“But there is always more to be done.”
Julie Cooper has been the MP since 2015 having been re-elected in the 2017 General Election.
Her main rival is expected to be Tory candidate Antony Higginbotham.
Antony Higginbotham, who has worked in the public and private sector, said he was backing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deal to leave the European Union.
He said: “Burnley voted Leave and it’s time we delivered on that decision. That’s why this election is so important - because it’s our chance to ‘Get Brexit Done’, respecting the decision you took - and so that we can re-focus on the NHS, schools and the police.”
Meanwhile, the Brexit Party will be hoping that Burnley’s majority vote to leave the European Union will see them attract plenty of voters frustrated at the ongoing impasse.
Stewart Scott, who will be vying to get elected in Burnley, said: “I’m not university educated but I’m experienced in business and life.
“I can feel in my stomach that the Conservatives will let us down again and try to give us Brexit in name only, BRINO.”
Former Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon Birtwistle will be standing for his party again.
He said: “I am aware that around 65% of people in Burnley voted to leave the EU but how many wanted to leave without a deal we don’t know.
“Parliamentarians should realise they are there to represent the people. There are a lot of non-Brexit issues, which are important to people, that are being ignored or put on the backburner because of Brexit.”
Another well-known figure in local politics is the current leader leader of Burnley Council, Charlie Briggs, who will be standing for the Burnley and Padiham Independent Party.
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.
“Obviously Brexit is the big issue at the moment. 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.”
Independent candidate Karen Helsby Entwistle said she had campaigned at local and national level since 2006 for the rights of children, noticably for the right to resuscitate and for better support in education for families with autism.
Laura Fisk, who will represent the Green Party, who has worked in the NHS all her life, said she was dedicated to making sure health and social care services function as one adequately resourced, publicly owned, properly valued NHS.