I want to say a huge thanks to my fellow councillor Mark Dobson who is putting his faith in me and shares my belief that we need a hard-working local candidate who has a real record of delivering for the Labour Party and the constituency.
I’ve worked with Mark for many years and it would be difficult to find a more hard working, committed colleague. Not only did he win a seat off the Tories to become a great ward councillor for Garforth and Swillington, but he also has an extremely challenging job as Executive Member for Environment and he is also vice-chair of the constituency.
We need a candidate who will not only fight a good campaign that appeals to local people, but even more importantly as an MP will fight for Elmet and Rothwell in Westminster. It isn’t a decision that should be made lightly or quickly so I’ve taken my time to consider who will be the best person for the job.
We need a candidate who is rooted in local issues and will fight for what is right locally and nationally. A candidate who will fight for more power for the regions and local councils. A candidate who will fight to ensure all our local schools are excellent, not just a select few. A candidate who genuinely understands the local environmental and community impact of HS2 as well as the strategic benefits it could bring to the region. A candidate who knows from first-hand experience the devastating effect of benefit cuts on local people. A candidate who is already campaigning against and challenging Alec Shelbrooke.
I believe that Labour needs real working class candidates who are actually from our community to represent us in Parliament. Above all our choice of candidate should be a decision by local Labour members for local Labour members.
That candidate is Karen Bruce.
I’ve worked with Karen since she was a Garforth, Swillington and Methley councillor and I was chair of Garforth Residents’ Association in the early 2000s. We worked together in the fight to save Garforth and Rothwell fire stations and Karen impressed me with the energy, imagination and hard work she put into the successful campaign.
Karen always puts local people first and campaigns hard for Labour with a real record of achievement that includes winning back seats.
I’ve been overwhelmed by the messages of support that I’ve been receiving from local members and councillors across the constituency.
One that means a lot to me personally is from Garforth and Swillington councillor Tom Murray who has just started doing a fantastic job as Lord Mayor of Leeds. I first knew Tom as one of my own local councillors who I went campaigning with and later when I was elected as a councillor I had the privilege as serving as his ward colleague.
“I fully support Karen to be our Parliamentary Candidate at the general election. I’ve worked with Karen for more than 15 years and as a fellow councillor for Garforth, Swillington and Methley I’ve seen at first hand her hard work, passion and enthusiasm. Not only will she be an outstanding campaigner, but even more importantly she won’t back down in Westminster when fighting for what’s best for local people.
With her local knowledge and experience, coupled with her political, personal and work life experience, she is uniquely qualified to represent local people. Over the years she’s evidenced how committed she is to local people. I’ve seen how passionate and caring she is about social justice, inequality and creating opportunity.
I have seen her grow over those years and I was delighted when she beat the Lib Dems in Rothwell and I believe she now has the necessary experience needed to represent us in Parliament. Karen understands the problems that families in our constituency face because she, Stuart and Esme are one of those local families.”
Rothwell Councillor David Nagle the latest Elmet and Rothwell member to endorse Karen. David is a Garforth and Swillington member and former chair of Swillington parish council. Until this year he was also the long-standing treasurer of Elmet and Rothwell constituency Labour Party. David said:
“I have know Karen for many years, both as a councillor and as a friend. I have always respected her and I am happy to endorse Karen as parliamentary candidate for Elmet and Rothwell. Karen will do a great job, I am certain as our next MP.”
Today was ‘Open Farm Sunday’ which is great as it gives everyone the opportunity to experience the countryside and connect with the land that feeds us.
We went to a local farm, Swillington Organic Farm, which was taking part, with our little girl Esme. I know Swillington well, having lived there before we moved to neighbouring Carlton, Rothwell, I represented Swillington as a Garforth and Swillington councillor for 6 years so have many friends.We have also gone to the farm shop for its lovely produce several times, as well as getting our Christmas trees there regularly. We were lucky as we bumped into Colin Burgon MP for Elmet and Rothwell who was also enjoying the delights of the farm.
It’s a blow that bus company First has axed two Leeds night buses including the 921 Leeds – Swillington, especially as this could compromise public safety. The story is in tonight’s Yorkshire Evening Post. I would have thought that with the recession more people would be in need of public transport. I would be very interested to know how widely the service has been promoted to potential passengers before the axe fell?
When I was a councillor for Garforth and Swillington I always campaigned for improvements to public transport and was pleased to have fought for my constituents best interests for example a Swillington bus re-routed to serve sheltered housing, so older people didn’t have a long walk to get to a bus stop, and getting bus shelters as some of our older folk were being battered by wind, hail and rain.
Many of us feel that Leeds has been getting a raw deal on public transport under the Conservative and Lib Dem Leeds City Council who are not fighting our corner, and this is just another deterioration of our services!