Pendle Labour Party - Archived items 2017
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Last updated: Sunday 31 December 2017

Thursday 23 November 2017
M65 Flooding - Councillor Iqbal urges County action
Leader of Pendle Council Cllr Mohammed Iqbal has written to the Cabinet Member for Highways at Lancashire County Council, Keith Iddon asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the lack of gully cleaning on the M65 which has led to very dangerous driving conditions in recent days.

Cllr Iqbal said:

“The weather over the last few days has resulted in the motorway either being closed or severely restricted due to surface water on it. This has caused many people to ask what LCC are doing to alleviate such a dangerous issue. I have asked the Cabinet member to come and meet the leaders of Burnley and Pendle as the County Council are responsible for this stretch of the M65. In the meantime I would ask all drivers to drive according to the weather conditions and take extra care”

Wednesday 22 November 2017
Labour Pledges to Reopen Rail Lines
Ahead of the Autumn Budget Shadow Transport Secretary, Andy McDonald MP, is calling on the Government to match the Labour Party’s commitment to boost investment in and expand the rail network by filling in the missing rail links.

Re-opening rail lines have local support, are positive for business and can boost areas of economic deprivation. They can also alleviate congestion, reduce social isolation and improve productivity. That is why Labour is announcing the establishment of a working group to develop proposals for reopening rail lines across the United Kingdom. The group will work with local politicians, campaign and passenger groups, businesses, and devolved authorities to identify and set out plans for investing to open lines where there is a social and economic case to do so.

The working group will compliment Labour’s plans for infrastructure investment across the country, specifically targeted at areas suffering poor connectivity and underinvestment.

Labour has identified the Skipton-Colne Rail line as one such high priority scheme that can help connect additional towns and cities & realise the benefits for the planned Crossrail for the North. Elsewhere the group will examine the case for reopening the Portishead to Bristol line in the South West and the Worcester to Derby Main Line Railway between Stourbridge and Burton in the Midlands as a part of the initial tranche of considerations. Labour is calling on Chancellor Philip Hammond to make available the resources to explore and bring forward detailed plans.

Commenting on the plans, Andy McDonald MP said:

“The social, economic and environmental case for expanding our rail network is clear, but the Tories have starved much of our country of the investment needed for our regions to reach their full potential.

“This working group will engage with those passengers and businesses who best understand the transport needs of their areas, in order for Labour to target investment that will help revive local economies.

“Under-investment in the regions is holding our economy back, particularly the absence of Northern East-West rail links, which is why there is such a strong case for reopening the line between Colne and Skipton & greater investment throughout the country. The route is a vital link between East Lancashire and Yorkshire, and when completed would deliver 50 miles of electrified railway line from Leeds to Burnley.

“Reopening this line has the potential to be transformative for the area. It’s exactly the type of scheme that needs exploring as part of a much more significant commitment to boost investment in the North and close regional funding divides.”

County Councillor Azhar Ali, Leader of the County Labour Group said:

“This is a ground breaking announcement from the Labour Party. For decades SELRAP and others have put forward a strong case for reconnecting East Lancashire and especially Pendle to Skipton which has always fallen on deaf ears till now

"I along with East Lancashire Labour MPs have been lobbying Jeremy Corbyn and the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who used to live here, to commit more resources for the north after years of areas like Pendle and East Lancashire having been starved of much needed infrastructure monies

" This commitment not only to reopen the Colne to Skipton Line but to electrify the line to Burnley will deliver a massive jobs boost and open opportunities for young people as well as a massive opportunity to build tourism.

"I will continue to work with Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell to seek a commitment to also look at road links across to Yorkshire to ensure that Pennine Lancashire becomes a real Northern powerhouse – this is an early Christmas present and shows that a Labour government will deliver for East Lancashire.”

Friday 29 September 2017
A letter from Councillor Mohammed Iqbal Leader of Pendle council to Andrew Stephenson MP, concerning “Pendle Council’s plans to build on Earby’s green fields”

Dear Andrew,

I understand from correspondence that I have received that you are encouraging residents in Earby to “help me fight Pendle Council’s plans to build on Earby’s green fields” and oppose the proposed disposal of Council-owned land in their area. Having had sight of the letter you have issued, I am disappointed that you have neither set out the reasons why Pendle Council is considering the disposal of these sites nor explained the considerable pressure being placed by the Government of which you are a member on local authorities such as Pendle both to deliver new housing and to deal with the funding reductions imposed by you. Download a copy of the letter here (PDF 397KB)

Friday 22 September 2017
Pendle Public Meeting on Public Sector Pay - Pay Up Now.
Public sector workers have lost thousands since 2010 due to the pay freeze and 1% cap. At long last the cap is beginning to crack, but we need to make sure that the government funds a substantial pay rise for all public sector workers.

As part of the pay campaign North West TUC and Unison have arranged a public meeting in Pendle on Monday 25th September 2017. The meeting is scheduled to take place from 7.00pm to 9.00pm, at the Unity Wellbeing Centre, Vernon Street, Nelson BB9 9DX.

Wednesday 06 September 2017
Peaceful protest against genocide in Burma
Leader of Pendle Council Mohammed Iqbal has with support of fellow councillors organised a peaceful protest against the killing of thousands of innocent Rohingya Muslims in Burma

Councillor Iqbal said:

"It is a crime against humanity what the world is witnessing in Burma and I have been asked by many Pendle people to organise a peaceful protest on Friday 8 September outside Nelson library at 2.30pm.

"I have also written to the Member of Parliament asking that he asks the Prime Minister to intervene and stop any further killings. I am appalled at our government keeping quiet on such atrocities."

Saturday 19 August 2017
Jeremy Corbyn in Pendle
Jeremy Corbyn visited Pendle on Thursday, 17th August, as part of his whistle-stop tour of key marginals across the country.

The Labour leader took time out to speak with women at the Sultania Mosque in Brierfield and with volunteers at the West Craven Foodbank which is based in Barnoldswick Baptist Church. The highlight of his visit was a public rally in Nelson’s Victoria Park, and police who were present at the event estimated that some 2,500 people attended to hear him speak.

In a rousing speech, Mr Corbyn addressed a number of topics ranging from the crisis in health and social care, through to education, the environment and the fight against Islamophobia, anti – Semitism and all forms of rascism. He also spoke of his opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and fracking.

Mr Corbyn also went on to thank local Labour campaigners and Pendle voters for almost succeeding to unseat the incumbent Conservative MP, Andrew Stephenson, at June’s General Election.

We intend to put more photographs on our Facebook page.

Tuesday 15 August 2017
Tory Councillor found guilty by panel!
Conservative former Mayor and Earby Councillor Rosemary Carroll was found guilty at a Special Meeting of Pendle Council Hearings Panel on Monday 14 August 2017. The panel considered a report from the Council's Monitoring Officer following 2 complaints on 29th June 2017 by Councillor Wayne Blackburn and Councillor Mohammed Iqbal relating to the sharing on social media of a highly offensive and racist joke by Cllr Carroll. The report from the Monitoring Officer concluded
"I consider the post to be derogatory and insulting to benefit claimants, and also racist", he also added“My finding is that there is sufficient evidence of a failure to comply with the Code of Conduct”.

The Panel made the following decisions:

1.To make the report public with a press release
2.To recommend the full council to censure her
3.Not to allow her on committees other than area committee for 12 months
4.To attend training on use of social media.

Councillor Wayne Blackburn said:

"I am grateful to the panel for reaching a conclusion which reflects the anger expressed to me by many residents from across Pendle. However, I am disappointed in the sanctions placed and do not believe they go far enough. It continues to be a cause of concern that here we have a senior member of the Conservative party in Pendle being found guilty of racism and her party continue to try and brush it under the carpet"

Leader of Pendle Council Cllr Mohammed Iqbal said:

"I am extremely disappointed at the so-called investigation by the Conservative Party whose sanction was to send Cllr Carroll on a diversity training course!. It is the case that the report from the Monitoring Officer was shared with the Leader of the Conservative group, Joe Cooney over a week ago and he and his party have chosen to hijack the panel hearing today by announcing a slap on the wrists for Cllr Carroll. This demonstrates that the Tory party are not honest in terms of condemning racist behaviour from one of their own councillors. I once again ask Andrew Stephenson MP and Cllr Joe Cooney to take steps to expel Cllr Carroll if they are genuine. I have today sent a letter to the Prime Minister, Theresa May asking for her intervention as it's clear her party in Pendle has serious issues in dealing with this matter"

Saturday 12 August 2017
Pendle Labour Party are pleased to announce the details of Jeremy Corbyn's much anticipated visit to Pendle on Thursday 17th August.
Mr Corbyn will be addressing a public rally at 4.30pm from The Bandstand in Victoria Park, Nelson. The visit forms part of his whistle-stop tour of marginal seats across the country this summer. Pendle is now one of the key seats that Labour must win to form the next government.

Pendle Labour Chair, Russell Tennant said:

“We are delighted to welcome Jeremy to Pendle. He is somebody who has inspired so many people to make their voices heard and to stand up for the values that will lead to a better society" .

People are asked to make their way to the park on foot where possible, to avoid traffic congestion and parking issues

Friday 21 July 2017
Shadow Minister visits threatened Colne Jobcentre
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Debbie Abrahams MP, visited Colne yesterday (20th July 2017) to meet with disabled residents and activists from across Pendle and to discuss issues surrounding Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP).

Many raised concerns about the imminent closure of Colne jobcentre and the effect that this would have on people’s lives.

Debbie Abrahams, commenting on the closure of Colne jobcentre said:

“The Department for Work and Pensions’ decision to close Colne jobcentre will have a real impact on local people, particularly those who are vulnerable or have a disability who will have to travel miles to access services.

“At a time when the Government is planning to force a million more working people to attend a Jobcentre, under its plans for in-work sanctions, it is simultaneously closing Jobcentres the length and breadth of the country.”

“Only this Government’s distorted austerity agenda could lead to such contradictory policies. Either the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing, or they are both acting together to make working people’s lives harder.”

“This Tory Government’s decision to close Jobcentres shows they have no interest in helping people to find decent and secure work.”

Councillor Wayne Blackburn added:

“I’m deeply concerned that this closure is to go ahead. I am also disappointed that Andrew Stephenson seems to have done nothing to change this decision, despite expressions to the contrary. Even at this late stage, I would call on the Government to keep the jobcentre open”.

Health workers and volunteers from local food banks also shared their experiences with Mrs Abrahams and highlighted cases where residents have been let down by the current system.

Sunday 09 July 2017
Pendle Labour Party have been made aware of threats made against Andrew Stephenson MP and his staff on Tuesday, 4th July.
Whilst we and Mr Stephenson differ in our political views, Pendle Labour opposes any form of violence and condemns these threats in the strongest terms.

Political discourse should be about robust debate and putting your position across strongly, not threats and intimidation. Actions such as these are nothing more than an attack on our democracy which we should all vigorously defend.

Mark Porter
Chair of Pendle Labour Party

Wednesday 28 June 2017
Pendle Conservative MP votes against ending cuts to our police and fire service and lifting the public sector pay cap.

Wayne Blackburn, Pendle CLP Secretary and recent labour parliamentary candidate commenting on today’s vote in parliament said:

"During the General Election campaign, Andrew Stephenson attempted to portray himself as "Pendle's Champion". Today, he voted not to give public sector workers a pay rise despite years of nurses and firefighters dealing with a 1% rise in their wages, amounting to a real terms cut in their income. I wonder how he will look those public sector workers in Pendle in the eye tomorrow and still claim to be their champion?"

Friday 09 June 2017
Statement from Mark Porter, President of Pendle CLP
First of all on behalf of the CLP can I say a big thank you to all members and supporters who helped out during the General Election. Whilst we did not manage to get Wayne elected this time the result was fantastic and increasing our vote by 5,000 people and reducing the Tory majority from 5,500 to a little over 1,250 none of which would have been possible with all your help.

I would also like to put on record my personal thanks to Wayne for his hard work and dignity and his enthusiasm for this campaign, Wayne you should be proud of what you achieved in less than 6 weeks.

I think it is clear from this General Election result that the country has sent the Tories a message nationally and I am confident that the same can be said locally.

The result leaves us with a hung parliament and with it brings uncertainty to the BREXIT negotiations due to start in just 11 days’ time.

Nobody knows what the next few months will bring so can I suggest you all take a well-earned rest recharge your batteries for when the ‘Weak and Wobbly’ May Becomes the ‘Strung up and Sacked’ and we are then faced with another General Election, whenever that may be. We will be ready and remember the old cliché a week in politics is a long time!
Mark Porter
President of Pendle CLP

Wednesday 30 May 2017
Local Tory needs to apologise for calling local voter a Pa**!
Leader of Pendle Council and newly re-elected Lancashire County Councillor Mohammed Iqbal has demanded that the defeated Conservative candidate and barrister Afzal Anwar apologise for referring to a local resident as a "typical paki".

Cllr Iqbal said "Mr Anwar ought to be ashamed of his behaviour and using such language on Facebook is unacceptable. He when faced with criticism from people deleted the post but the damage had been done. I would challenge the Tory candidate, Andrew Stephenson to distance himself from such behaviour and expel Mr Anwar"

Monday 01 May 2017
Pendle Disability Champion selected for Labour
Pendle Labour Party is pleased to announce that Councillor Wayne Blackburn has been selected to stand as the Labour Party candidate in the General Election on Thursday 8th June.

Wayne has been Councillor for Clover Hill in Nelson for two years, and is the Disability and Mental Health Champion for the Council. He has been a campaigner for disability rights for many years, and has worked with several organisations across the North West to campaign against the austerity agenda, social security changes and the hated bedroom tax.

Chair of Pendle Labour Party, Mark Porter, says:

“We’re delighted to have Wayne as our candidate, someone local who will stand up for local people.”

Thursday 09 March 2017
Public Statement from Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, Leader of Pendle Borough Council and Lancashire County Councillor for Brierfield & Nelson North
“It is evident that the Pendle Conservative Party are getting desperate when they resort to accusing me of colluding with or 'doing a deal' with the British National Party.

" For the record I can confirm that no deal of any kind has been done with the BNP.

“Unfortunately, this smear campaign and many other failed attempts to tarnish the Labour Party's and my reputation is all part of poorly orchestrated attempt to regain the leadership of the council and an attempt to influence the local electorate with their false stories.

“The Labour Party is immensely grateful and proud to have received the support of thousands of residents across Pendle over the years giving us a voice in the Council chamber to convey their message and deliver important services in the face of savage cuts from the Tory government.

“The County Council elections are not far away now. The Conservatives will try every trick in the book including false stories to try to give themselves the best chance of victory instead of focusing on what is best for the people of Pendle.

“I am proud of my track record in public service for over 18 years and will continue to serve the people of Pendle to the best of my ability if I am hopefully re-elected on Thursday 4th May 2017.”

Monday 27 February 2017
Pendle Council Budget Update
Leader of the Council, Cllr Mohammed Iqbal reluctantly proposed a Council Tax increase of £5 per year on a Band D property and said:

“It is a fact that the Conservative government has since 2010 made savage cuts to the money Pendle received and by 2020, we will have suffered a 68% cut or over £8 million in real cash terms.

“It is simply unsustainable for the council to continue provide the level of service expected by local residents in the face of such cuts by the Conservative government.

“The government in the last few weeks announced a further cut in the Council’s New Homes Bonus settlement which will result in a further £3 million pound loss to us by 2020. Simply put, the Conservatives are purely for political purposes wanting to end the way councils operate across the North of England.

“The alternative budget proposed by the Conservatives was a reckless one with proposals to privatise many of the services we provide. “They do not have any ideas about the mammoth task ahead of Pendle Council and simply bury their head in the sand.

“They have previously publicly refused to accept the £1.2 million pounds agreed by the Labour led council and indeed voted against these ‘easy savings’, however at the budget meeting they did a complete U-turn and in a cowardly fashion accepted the previous savings with no apology to the people of Pendle for their previous political antics.

“Their gimmicks were simply to divert attention away from their failure to work with me and the Liberal Democrats on the council to lobby our MP who has failed Pendle unlike some of his colleagues in other parts of the county.”

Saturday 21 January 2017
Fantastic response to our Care for the NHS campaign in Barnoldswick this morning.

Huge thanks to all the members who came to help and thank you to the residents of Barnoldswick who took the time, on a freezing day, to talk to us and sign the petition. Clearly, Barnoldswick cares for the NHS. More about The NHS campaign>>

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