Alnwick councillor selected to run for Conservatives in Keighley in General Election - prompting calls for him to stand down
An Alnwick county councillor has been selected as a Conservative parliamentary candidate in Yorkshire, prompting a call for him to stand down.
At the weekend, it was revealed that Coun Robbie Moore, who also recently stood in the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner elections, had been selected to contest the Keighley seat for the Tories at the next General Election.
This sparked Labour’s James Matthewson, who stood against Coun Moore in the 2017 Northumberland County Council elections, to call for him ‘to resign his position representing the people of Alnwick with immediate effect’.
But Coun Moore said he was not going to resign on the back of Mr Matthewson calling for it, adding that he had been elected and ‘alongside Conservative colleagues, I have been delivering on good projects across Alnwick and north Northumberland’.
The town is represented by two councillors – Coun Moore and fellow Tory, Coun Gordon Castle.
Mr Matthewson, who works for Ian Lavery, the Wansbeck MP and chairman of the Labour Party, said: “It was bad enough that residents in Alnwick were presented a Tory candidate who lived outside Northumberland during the council elections, but this latest news adds even more insult to injury and is frankly a disgrace to the people he is supposed to represent.
“I repeat the call for Coun Moore to resign immediately and trigger a by-election for his seat in Alnwick, as it is clear he no longer intends to stay in the town and represent our fantastic local community.”
Coun Moore did not live in Northumberland in the run-up to the May 2017 election – although he does now – but was eligible to stand as he worked for George F White in Alnwick. The chartered surveyor has since left to set up his own business, Brockthorpe Consultancy.
He said: “I have certainly been delivering on key projects in Alnwick and I will continue to work alongside Gordon on those.
“The General Election is not supposed to be until 2022 and there are local elections in 2021, which is still two years away, so there will be decisions to make.
“Regardless of having a full-time job, I have an excellent attendance record for council meetings and as long as I’m delivering and doing what residents are asking me to do as a county councillor then that’s what I will continue to do.”
The Conservatives are a minority administration at County Hall, with 33 of the 67 seats, although they are usually supported by a number of the independents, including the three from Bedlington.
Concerns have previously been raised about another Tory councillor, Roderick Lawrie, of the Norham and Islandshires ward, who has moved to the Isle of Man for business reasons, although he continues to attend some council meetings and most of his parish councils report that he responds to their emails and has carried out work on their behalf.
The Keighley News reported that Coun Moore said he was ‘thrilled’ to be selected by members of Keighley and Ilkley Conservative Association at a meeting last Friday night.
He told them his campaign would focus on raising education standards, supporting and encouraging small and medium-size businesses and ensuring the right type of homes are built for the community.
Since 1959, the Keighley seat has been a bellwether (its winner affiliated to the winning party nationally) with two exceptions; in 1979 and 2017, the seat was won by Labour.
The MP since 2017 has been John Grogan, after beating Conservative Kris Hopkins, who had held the seat since 2010, by just 249 votes.