288 candidates to battle to serve on new unitary council

Some 288 candidates, including the owner of a 20,000-acre estate and a man once convicted of taking a council’s ice cream takings while serving as a mayor, have thrown their hats in the ring to serve residents on North Yorkshire’s new unitary authority.

All seven of the county’s district and borough councils have published lists of the candidates who will contest representing communities on 90 seats in 89 divisions across England’s largest county for a five-year term.

The Conservatives will contest all seats while election documents reveal there will also be 67 Labour, 48 Green, 46 Liberal Democrat and 46 Independent candidates.

Other groups represented at the election include Reform UK, Whitby Area Independents, SDP, Liberal and the Yorkshire Party.

The election will see battles for 21 seats in Harrogate borough, seven seats in Richmondshire, eight seats in Ryedale, 13 seats in Selby district, nine seats in Craven, 17 seats in Scarborough borough and 14 seats in Hambleton.

As all the divisions have at least two candidates, it means each seat will be contested at the polls.

The Kirbymoorside and the Dales division has the most candidates in a contest, with six people vying for the seat.

Among the most high-profile of the candidates is Lady Masham Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, who runs the Swinton Estate, which features a castle hotel, cookery school and glamping site, with her husband, Mark.

In one of the few all-female contests of the election, Lady Masham will face competition for the Masham and Fountains division from Conservative Margaret Atkinson and Liberal Democrat Judith Hooper.

Battling Conservative Thomas Averre and Liberal Democrat Tom Cavell-Taylor in the Ripon Minster and Moorside division will be Independent Andrew Williams, the youngest ever mayor of Ripon who was convicted of pocketing the city council’s ice cream takings at an event to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Meanwhile, former Richmondshire councillor Jane Parlour will contest the North Richmondshire division for the Liberal Democrats against Conservative and fellow farmer Angus Thompson.

In 2015, Mrs Parlour was convicted of assaulting her neighbour.

However, the conviction was later quashed on appeal.

The election will see a number of long-serving and high-profile Conservative councillors contest seats as Independents after having not been selected to be the party’s candidate.

Farmer and North York Moors National Park Authority planning committee chairman David Hugill will contest the Hutton Rudby and Osmotherley seat against Labour’s Anne Mannix, Liberal Democrat Ross Duncan and Conservative candidate Bridget Fortune.

Engineering and investment specialist George Jabbour, who last year fought to become County Durham and Darlington’s police and crime commissioner, has been selected as the Conservative candidate for the Helmsley and Sinnington seat.

He will face competition from Independent Val Arnold, Green Barbara Hickman, Independent Simon Thackray and Liberal Democrat Alexandra Young.