The battle to become York and North Yorkshire’s first mayor has started to heat up with independent candidate Keith Tordoff suggesting Keane Duncan will be secretly ordering fish and chips on his campervan tour of the county instead of surviving on “army-style ration packs” in the wild as claimed.
Conservative candidate Cllr Keane Duncan announced this week that he is embarking on an “epic” 100-day quest in a campervan called Peggy ahead of the election on May 2.
He said he’ll be taking the vehicle around North Yorkshire to meet voters in person and to show that he’ll be a mayor for the whole county.
Cllr Duncan even said he’d be eating ration packs and sleeping in the wilderness to get back to nature whilst he is away from home.
But his rival Mr Tordoff was sceptical and called it a “PR stunt” and when speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service yesterday. He said: “I’ve never heard such a load of tripe. Only the gullible will fall for that. He’ll be having pizza and fish and chips.”
Mr Tordoff unsuccessfully stood to be North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in 2021 and during the campaign embarked on a tour of his own around North Yorkshire in a smart car meeting the electorate and promoting his bid.
The former police officer from Pateley Bridge accused Cllr Duncan of copying his idea but wished him well on his journey.
Cllr Duncan has emblazoned Peggy with his campaign slogan “Keane for Mayor” but missing is any mention of the Conservative Party.
Mr Tordoff said this might be deliberate due to negative perceptions of the national party and jokingly added it might have invited wags to let down his tyres when he’s asleep.
He added: “As the North Yorkshire Conservative councillor in charge of highways, at least if his mayoral campaign is unsuccessful he will have discovered first hand the terrible state of the roads in the county. Happy camping!”
Responding to Mr Tordoff’s comments, Cllr Duncan told the LDRS: “My campaign is a positive one, focused on connecting with every community in North Yorkshire and representing all corners of our vast county.
“My campaign is also a respectful one. I will not trash my opponents or use offensive language. I feel this only reflects poorly on those choosing to do so.
“We now have 98 days to polling day. My epic tour of North Yorkshire continues and I am loving every second of it.”
Who is standing to be mayor?
The Green Party has chosen former soldier Kevin Foster as its candidate.
Keith Tordoff will stand as an independent after previously announcing he would run for the Yorkshire Party.
Keane Duncan, who is currently in charge of transport on North Yorkshire Council, is standing for the Conservatives.
Labour has chosen local business owner and chair of the York High Street Forum David Skaith.
The Liberal Democrats has not yet decided who its candidate will be.