Who gets your vote?

editorial image
Share this article

In just a few hours, the people of Burnley and Padiham will find out the name of the person selected to represent them in Parliament for the next five years.

Polling booths are now open until 10pm leaving voters just a few hours to decide on whose ballot paper their cross will go.

There are five candidates in the running to become the borough’s next MP, all of whom believe they are the right choice for you and the town.

The 2010 General Election was a close-run affair in Burnley with Gordon Birtwistle (Lib Dem) receiving 14,932 votes to Julia Cooper’s (Labour) 13,114.

The polls suggest it will once again be between these two parties, and indeed candidates, with many predicting this year’s race could be just as close - although the bookies currently have Labour as clear favourites.

Mr Birtwistle, who is also a town councillor, believes his record as MP speaks for itself.

He says he is proud of what has been achieved in Burnley and Padiham during the past five years and wants a chance to carry on the work he has set out doing.

Mr Birtwistle talks about how the town has gone from being described as a “basketcase” in 2009 to becoming recognised as the “Most Enterprising Place in the UK”.

He also states that unemployment in the town has been halved while the number of apprenticeships has soared and since the last election a number of local health services, patients and ambulances have begun returning to Burnley.

“I am standing for re-election because I believe that there is much more that we can achieve in our town, ” he says.

However, Mrs Cooper, also a town councillor, believes Mr Birtwistle has helped to “support the harshest, most unfair Government in living history”.

She says that since the Coalition Government came into power in 2010, funding for the town has been cut by 54% while some authorities, in some more prosperous areas in the South, have had their funding increased.

A vote for Labour is a vote for a fairer town and a fairer Britain, according to Mrs Cooper.

The Conservative candidate, Mrs Sarah Cockburn-Price, is a Pendle councillor who lives in Colne.

She describes herself, not as a politician but as somebody who has “lived life” and has only the best interests for Burnley.

These include lobbying for inclusion in the Northern powerhouse infrastructure improvements, while seeking additional investment alongside the Bondholder Scheme. She will also campaign for high quality family homes on brownfield sites and is committed to protecting Burnley’s Pennine landscape.

UKIP’s Tom Commis, who grew up in Todmorden but moved to Burnley nine years ago, believes this election is probably the most important for a generation.

His main focus is on improving living standards in the town. He wants to bring decent jobs back to Burnley, help parents with childcare and help boost local business by cutting business rates.

He says the most frequent issue raised with him is that of protecting healthcare – something he tells voters UKIP will put £3billion towards.

The Green Party candidate Mike Hargreaves works as a mental health nurse and is the former singer with the punk band Notsensibles.

His policies centre around rejecting austerity, ensuring “Burnley is making decisions for Burnley”.

He believes housing in Burnley is broken and wants to scrap bedroom tax, cap rents and introduce longer tenancies in order to help fix this. He says he will personally spearhead moves to bring some of the Green Party’s 500,000 new homes to Burnley’s brownfield sites.

The Parliamentary count will take place in the main sports hall at the St Peter’s Centre, Church Street, and will start at 1-30am.

Acting returning officer Mick Cartledge is expected to announce the result at around 3-30am.

Follow us live: http://www.burnleyexpress.net/live/event?1226810