North Northants Labour party leader says new unitary authority is opportunity to 'look to the future'

Cllr Jean Addison has been elected as leader of the Labour party for North Northamptonshire

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 4:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 4:30 pm
Members of the Labour group at the recent election count

The Labour party for North Northamptonshire has elected its first leader to take it forward on the new unitary authority.

Cllr Jean Addison was elected yesterday (May 17) taking over from previous leader and former leader of Corby Council, Tom Beattie.

At the local elections on May 6, Cllr Addison topped the poll for Corby West and was elected to the new North Northamptonshire Council alongside the other two Labour candidates for the ward.

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The party secured 14 out of the 78 seats available on the authority with the Conservatives winning 60, the Green Party three and an independent winning one.

And Cllr Addison said achieving what residents' wanted contributed to Labour's success in the ward.

She said: "I think the fact that Corby held its seats, I know we didn't get the three rural seats, but we were relatively close to achieving that.

"I think the reason why people in Corby vote Labour, is not because of the stereotypical, working class town voting Labour, it's because Labour has absolutely achieved what the residents wanted.

"We've always communicated with our residents all along the way.

"We've worked with our residents and listen to what they say.

"In the design of the cinema, people had a choice, they voted for the design, all those sort of things helped to build the community trust in the council."

Cllr Addison said due to the pandemic, campaigners weren't able to knock on doors apart from during the later stages of campaigning in the Oakley Division.

She said: "I don't know if the residents missed us knocking on their doors at tea time but we certainly missed that interaction.

"Because if you don't listen to people how can you make policies. You can't just make policies can you because you think it's a good idea.

"You've got to talk to people and find out what their needs are and what the need of the community is and then you build policies around that."

Holding the new administration to account is going to be the next challenge for the party.

Cllr Addison said: "It's going to be a very, very hard job.

"Because, it's not been confirmed yet whether we will be able to chair the two scrutiny panels because that's in the gift of the administration.

"And yet in the Caller report, they were criticised for their lack of scrutiny.

"And we're still waiting to hear whether we're going to be offered those two seats.

"It's not to sort of keep nitpicking, that's not what it's about, it's to be a critical friend really to the administration."

Cllr Addison said Labour now has the opportunity to look to the future.

She added: "In one respect, although we didn't want it to happen, we didn't want that to happen to any of the boroughs because they were all successful in their own right.

"But, it's a new council. We do have the opportunity to look to the future.

"We do have the opportunity to make sure the council runs efficiently and effectively for our residents.

"And so we have to look at the positives and work on the negatives don't we."

To read more about the Labour group's leadership team, click here.