Upper Dales councillor John Blackie rules out standing at General Election

Upper Dales county councillor John Blackie.

Upper Dales county councillor John Blackie has ruled out standing at the General Election in June.

Cllr Blackie stood in 2015, coming fifth with 3,348 votes.

Richmondshire Today has also contacted, or tried to contact, UKIP’s Matthew Cooke, Labour’s Mike Hill, Liberal Democrat candidate John Harris and Leslie Rowe, from the Green Party, to find out if they plan to stand.

Mr Rowe said the Green Party would be announcing their candidate shortly.

It is believed it will be Fiona Yorke.

It is understood the current MP Rishi Sunak will be standing again for the seat he won after getting more than 50 per cent of the vote.

Cllr Blackie said: “My decision does not diminish the pride I feel of my result in the General Election in May 2015, or my deep thanks for the very considerable support I received from electors in the Richmond Constituency in that election.

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“I was only one of five Independents amongst the 150 Independents across England who stood in the May 2015 election who retained their deposit, and the votes cast for me, at 3448, was the highest recorded for a stand-alone Independent reliant on his/her own resources to fight the Election.”

Cllr Blackie added that since May 2015 the outlook for the Upper Dales communities had become considerably worse wih the potential loss of the 24/7 A+E unit, and the 24/7 consultant-led maternity and paediatric service at the Darlington Memorial Hospital, the reduction in education funding from Central Government that he said threatened the survival of local schools and the Government’s housing policy to allow the Right To Buy (RTB) by tenants of housing association property among the main issues.

He added: “These key issues require a strong political voice locally to address them – to fight on behalf of the local communities –  so I have decided to concentrate on doing this at North Yorkshire County Council should I be re-elected in the county council election as I hope to be) on May 4.”