Tories hold Pendle in tightly fought council election

A tight contest in the Pendle Borough Council elections saw the Conservatives hold on to control.

Bucking the national trend, the Tories performed well in Pendle, holding on to valuable seats and even gaining a Bradley ward seat with Deputy Mayor Coun. Mohammad Sakib losing to Tory Mohammed Kaleem.

Meanwhile, Labour retook Marsden ward, which they lost at the last election, with sitting Tory Karen Howarth losing her seat to Labour’s Mohammed Ammer.

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Liberal Democrat leader Coun. David Whipp held onto his seat in Earby and Coates.

Pendle Council leader Coun. Nadeem Ahmed (third from left) and Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson (second from left) joined celebrations as the Conservatives held control of Pendle Council

Overall, it was a case of “as you were” with the Tories holding their seats in Barrowford and Pendleside, Boulsworth and Foulridge, Vivary Bridge, and Waterside and Horsfield.

Labour held their seats in Brierfield East and Clover Hill, and Whitefield and Walverden.

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Reflecting on how his Conservative group had managed to buck the national trend, council leader Coun. Nadeem Ahmed said the Pendle public had “differentiated” between national and local issues, despite much doorstep anger over the “partygate” scandal enveloping the Tories nationally.

He said: “There was a lot of anger, understandably, over partygate, especially as Pendle was badly hit by the Covid pandemic.

"However, local people have differnetiated between Westminster and here. They can see the huge investment Pendle has had recently.

"That said, there are still lots of challenges and more work needs to be done. There are financial challenges and we have to find efficiency savings without affecting customer services.

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"The other big issue to local people is that of protecting our greenbelt. I promised to do that at the last election and will continue to do so.”

Labour leader, Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, said he would be keeping a close eye on where savings would be made.

He added: “I will be leading the fight to challenge where cuts are made for those savings and will try to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

"I’m delighted we’ve regained Marsden but disappointed to lose our deputy mayor Mohammad Sakib in what was a personal and vicious campaign.

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"In terms of us not capitalising on Labour’s fightback nationally, Pendle has always been unique. I don’t think we’re a barometer of national politics.”

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Conservatives take new-look 'smaller' Pendle Council

Lib Dem leader Coun. David Whipp said he was pleased his group had increased their majorities but disappointed they had not made any gains.