Labour and Green councillors elected for University ward

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Despite Conservative election night success in Week 3, this was not replicated in council elections for the University and Scotforth Rural constituency where two Labour and one Green party Councillor were elected. University students Matthew Mann and Lucy Atkinson of Labour and Sam Armstrong of the Green Party were elected to represent the interests of the University and surrounding area over the next year on the city council.

Labour was dominant overall in the Lancaster City Council elections. They won 29 of the 60 wards in total, with the Conservatives winning 19, Greens nine and three independents. Labour missed out on a majority by just two seats.

Lucy Atkinson for Labour received the most votes for Labour, being elected with 605 votes, followed by the Green’s Armstrong with 555 and then Matt Mann who was elected with 500 votes.

Mann told SCAN that he was filled with a mixture of “delight and relief” after the election but was slightly disappointed all three Labour candidates were not elected. “After an initial wave of pure relief, I was absolutely delighted on the day with plenty of celebrations that we managed to win 29 seats across the City Council elections, though now I am focused with getting on with the job in hand, and becoming acquainted with being a City Councillor.”

The newly-elected councillor has already set his sights on what he and his colleagues can achieve in the position hopes to help local citizens and students in his role. I will do my utmost to represent the whole ward, including those who live in Scotforth Rural who deserve that as much as anyone, but I don’t think you’ll be surprised to hear me say that one of my main aims is to ensure that students and their views across Lancaster are properly represented on the City Council.

“One of mine and Lucy’s main aims is to work so that students are not ripped off on their rents, especially by student landlords, whilst driving up standards and increasing tenancy awareness so local students get what they pay for.” Mann continued, “I also know that cost of living, such as rent, is a massive issue, so for many students part time jobs are unfortunately essential.”

His fellow Labour councillor Lucy Atkinson also spoke to SCAN stressing her desire to help improve the welfare and mental health facilities. “I want to be able to represent the students of Lancaster University to the best of my ability, we are a massive part of the city and our views should not go unnoticed. One of my personal aims is to try and push for better mental health facilities at the University and we have promised to try and make sure all fresher’s packs have a welfare booklet included which will have information on issues such as mental health, physical health and help for all disadvantaged groups in society.”

Atkinson felt that the hard work put into their campaign clearly paid dividends. “I think it’s because we have been working really hard on the campaign, we had been out door knocking weekly since January trying to get people to register to vote, as well as a Facebook campaign, stalls in Alex Square, a variety of posters and canvassing closer to the time.”

The Green Party’s Armstrong said he was proud of his election but felt disappointed that the party could not win any more seats. “I feel slightly disappointed that we could not get more than one seat for the University and Scotforth Rural Ward.

“Jack Filmore, the old City Councillor for the ward, was running again and unfortunately was not re-elected and I would not have been elected without his and others support with campaigning,” Armstrong told SCAN. Filmore ran for re-election but failed in his bid to represent the Greens for another year, receiving 417 votes.

Armstrong told SCAN that the result proved that his and his party’s active campaigning in the election run-up could really pay off. “I honestly have to say the campaign was successful because of everyone who helped out. We do not have the largest active group on campus but those who helped out, every day their work clearly paid off to I owe it too them. Canvassing and speaking to people all over campus was key to getting elected, face-to-face conversations really allowed us to engage with views of people and allowed us to explain in more detail what the Greens stand for locally.”

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