Lib Dems announce young campaigner as their candidate in the upcoming Penyghent and Ribblesdale by-elections
By Craven Liberal Democrats
Craven Liberal Democrats announce young campaigner and activist, Luke Allan to contest the upcoming Craven by-elections for the Craven District Council ward of Penyghent and North Yorkshire County Council division of Ribblesdale - two of three by-elections scheduled to take place in Craven this May.
Earlier this year, it was announced that for the second year in a row, local elections for Craven District Council and North Yorkshire County Council would not go ahead, this time due to the local government unitary reorganisation proposal, with only North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (NYPFCC) elections scheduled to take place.
Following the sad passing of Conservative councillor Richard Welch, a by-election was called to contest the seats for the Craven District Council ward of Penyghent, alongside the North Yorkshire County Council division of Ribblesdale - with voting taking place on Thursday 6th May, in line with the NY PFCC election and other local elections in England.
Commenting on his selection as the Lib Dem candidate for the ward of Penyghent and division of Ribblesdale, Luke Allan, Vice Chair of Craven Liberal Democrats said:
"I am honoured to have been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Penyghent and Ribblesdale. As someone who was raised and has proudly lived in Craven for most of my life, I am honoured to have the opportunity to give back to our local communities, to help safeguard our future and provide a strong voice for residents."
Originally born in Lancashire, Luke is a confessed "Yorkshire lad at heart" and has spent the majority of his life in Craven where he attended Ingleton Middle School and Settle College. Upon leaving Settle College in 2014, Luke moved to Sheffield to undertake a joint honours degree at Sheffield Hallam University, later graduating in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Public Relations and Media. Following his graduation, Luke continued to live, work and volunteer in Sheffield until returning to Ingleton in April 2020 to help care for his grandmother before she passed in August following a brief battle with cancer. Luke decided to remain in Ingleton, supported by his ability to work remotely in his role as Content and Promotions Assitant within Higher Education. Outside of work and the party, he volunteers as a Section Assistant within Ingleborough District Scouts and regularly enjoys mountain biking through the Dales with his family.
When asked why he wanted to stand in May, Luke said:
"Craven is a truly great place to live and work, and a place I have proudly called home for most of my life - I want to play my part in ensuring Craven continues to prosper and thrive for many years to come. Penyghent and Ribblesdale need and deserve a local champion who understands the issues our communities face, and will work tirelessly to address these - I want to be that champion."
During his time in Sheffield, Luke held a significant number of elected and voluntary roles which saw him ensure the passing of policy affecting seven million UK students, working as an Independent Advisor with South Yorkshire Police and working closely with councillors and cabinet members from Sheffield City Council about a wide range of priorities from hate crime to public transport.
Aside of democracy and equality, Luke has been active in supporting the health and wellbeing of young people and those from marginalised communities, working closely and volunteering with Sheffield's largest charity for young people to spending four years volunteering within Sheffield Teaching Hospitals helping to run clinics and deliver on-site testing, education, support and engagement.
Luke joined the Liberal Democrats in Autumn of 2020, attending his first Craven Branch shortly after. Since then, Luke has already become a rising star within the local party after being elected to the Skipton and Ripon Constituency Executive Committee after attending to discuss engagement with young people to being appointed as Craven Branch Vice Chair and selection as the local party's candidate.
Following his initial announcement of his candidacy via social media on Friday 2nd April 2020, Luke and his campaign team began hand-delivering introductory letters and canvassing voters across Penyghent. Following numerous conversations, it was confirmed that Luke was the first candidate to begin reaching out to and meeting voter directly in Penyghent during this election, many were surprised and appreciative to see a candidate knocking on doors and taking the time to speak with them directly about the issues they and the local community face. Luke's next focus is to continue meeting with voters directly across Penyghent and increasing his campaign activity and presence across Ribblesdale.
Following Luke's selection, Skipton and Ripon Constituency Liberal Democrats Chair, David Edwards said:
"I am delighted to have Luke as a candidate for Penyghent and Ribblesdale. He is young, motivated and hard-working and will serve the residents of Penyghent and Ribblesdale well."
Luke is scheduled to announce his full list of priorities later this month, but he has already discussed his plans to:
- Fight for better consultation, better communication, and better collaboration with residents and parish councils on the formation of a new unitary authority and against the closure of Skipton Magistrates' Court.
- Address Craven's deplorable placement in the bottom third of local authorities for waste and recycling with recycling, refuse and composting rates failing to improve in over ten years.
- Call for a clear plan and action to put recovery first, to support local businesses, tourism and farming, three vital groups who have suffered severely from extraordinary challenges.
- Overturn the rapid decline of services and provisions for children and young people, working to increase provisions and services to support their physical and mental health and wellbeing.