Home » Conservative favourites? But don’t take anything for granted!

Conservative favourites? But don’t take anything for granted!

In the last of our series looking at the local political campaigns in South West Holderness, we look at the Conservatives.

Conservative team
Favourites? The Conservative team

IF politics was a sport then locally the Conservatives deserve to win in South West Holderness! Why? Because of the simple fact that they have been ‘in the game’ longer. Graham Stuart (Conservative candidate for Beverley & Holderness) made a valid point at the Hedon Hustings on Thursday when he declared that “We’ve been working hard over the last five years and you’ve seen us out and about – you just don’t see us once every five years at election time!” And he’s got a point!

While both Labour and UKIP started their campaigns early (late summer/early autumn last year) that still just doesn’t compare with the five years of street surgeries and campaigns that the Conservatives have waged over that period.

As sitting councillors John Dennis and Mike Bryan have both regularly attended meetings of the parish councils in Paull, Preston and Thorngumbald and so regularly picked up and responded to local issues across the ward. Regardless of politics, they’ve done the legwork, they’ve put the time in – which probably makes them the favourites to win this election and new Conservative face Dr Sue Steel a retired NHS clinical scientist looks set to benefit from this too.

But politics is not sport and despite being batting for a long time, the Conservatives do now have to defend their wickets against all manner of Labour, UKIP and Independent bowling. One slip of the defence and it could be ‘Howzzaaaat!’.

And ‘defence’ is the major feature of the Conservative campaign. Defence of open green spaces, defence of boundaries, defence against urban and industrial sprawl – and crucially for them, defence against what they see as the predatory aims of Labour controlled Hull City Council.

Centre of attentionThe referendum on the prospect of Hull’s boundaries being expanded and on whether Hull should be allowed to develop land it owns in the East Riding, put our local sitting councillors in the regional spotlight, particularly John Dennis who was seen as the driving force behind that campaign (with one pundit even tipping that he was possibly a future Tory leader on the East Riding Council).

John Dennis said at the time: “Not only did we attract a massive 96% ‘No-No’ Vote, but to me, an even more impressive 75% turnout of registered electors. That was an unprecedented response, way beyond even my expectations. Over 50,000 East Riding people can’t all be wrong!”

The referendum was supposed to be non-political but with nearly £60,000 spent by the Conservative-controlled East Riding on the referendum and the active and visible “It’s A No No!” campaign led by Conservatives – then credit for the campaign is being taken by the South West Holderness Conservative team. The Boundary Referendum was largely ignored by both Labour and UKIP who didn’t see the point, just the expenditure.

Credit is also duly taken by the Conservatives for the victorious HOTI campaign against the proposed incinerator at Saltend – incidentally the local Conservatives were willing to oppose even their own colleagues in the Conservative leadership on this issue. This ‘independent’ streak does shine through occasionally; John Dennis was the lone voice on the Hedon Town Council to back the building of the Magdalen Park Nursing Home. Councillor Ann Suggit and John Dennis’ colleague Mike Bryan didn’t support the development because of the fears of potential flood risk and the extra strain it would put on the town’s infrastructure. The Nursing Home was built and has been recognised for the quality of its healthcare design, and it has also created dozens of new jobs. What this episode reveals is that the local Conservatives are not immune to local opinion or indeed slaves to a party line.

John Dennis, Mike Bryan and Sue Steel have each lived in the town for decades and have a significant personal vote. They will need to ensure that both personal and party support is mobilised on Thursday in the face of a very real threat of one or more of the three seats being lost to other candidates.

Whilst perhaps the favourites, nothing can be taken for granted in this election and for all the candidates the job is not only to inspire people to vote on Thursday 7th May – but to make sure that people physically get out and vote!


The Hedon Blog thanks each candidate for participating in this contest and keeping our democracy alive. And also thanks for lending some of your valuable campaigning time towards keeping our readers (and your voters) informed.

I feel privileged to know or have spoken to all the candidates personally. May you have the best of campaigns on Thursday – Ray Duffill

There are eight candidates standing in the election for the three seats from South West Holderness Ward on East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Candidates ( = have sent statement)
BLACK, Neil 
LabourNeil Black web
BRYAN, Mike 
ConservativeJohn Dennis - jubilant
LabourSteve Gallant
IndependentSave our NHS campaigners Theresa Vaughan Sarah Rommell and Lyn Longbottom
ConservativeSue Steel
LabourBrian Stockdale
WEST, Terry 
UKIPTerry West-001

Follow our election coverage at: Campaigning for YOUR votes.

8 thoughts on “Conservative favourites? But don’t take anything for granted!

  1. Cllr. John P. Dennis - 668th Mayor of Hedon, Chair of HandsOff the East Riding Campaign says:

    For further evidence that Hull’s expansion plans have not been halted by the outcome of last year’s boundaries referendum, please check the item in today’s Hull Mail ( the Business Supplement in the centre of the paper) where ex-leader Colin Inglis says – ‘city boundary shift does not need public support’ and that ‘there would be no need for a vote or the agreement of village residents’

    We should be very very concerned. This is still a threat to Hedon and Preston.

    Labour’s Margaret Pinder would not support us in opposing Hull, confirmed by what she said at the Hustings last Thursday (quote ” the referendum was a waste of money ” and “Hull is a progressive city”)

    Neither we can rely on the Labour candidates for the East Riding election – (see my previous comment – below – and the one from Neil Black further down). They did nothing when the HandsOff the East Riding (it’s a No-No!) campaign needed all the support it could get.

    Should we conclude that Labour supports Hull’s Land Grab?

    However, we know for a fact that Graham Stuart will stand by us as he did when we fought the HOTI campaign, and the three Conservative East Riding candidates are committed to our promise to ‘Protect, Preserve and Promote’ our residents, and the communities of S.W.Holderness.

    ‘Vote Labour – get the Brady Bunch’

    John P. Dennis.

    668th Mayor of Hedon
    Chair of HandsOff the East Riding Campaign
    Conservative Candidate for SWHolderness

  2. I’d like to state a number of facts here Neil, to put you straight.

    Firstly, the article above wasn’t written by me. It is Ray’s piece and I have had no involvement in it whatsoever

    Further, as an East Riding Councillor I personally called the first meeting of the group that was to become the HandsOff Campaign in County Hall on the very day that Steve Parnaby, the ERYC Leader announced his intention to run the Boundary Referendum.

    Instantly there was support from Steve and many other East Riding Councillors across the whole area as far away as Brough and Swanland.

    I personally secured support from of all the town and parish councils across the area, including at the earliest opportunity, putting the issue on the Hedon Council agenda at which their backing was given.

    Don’t forget that I represent Preston too, and they were fully behind me, as was Bilton, Hessle, Anlaby and many others.

    You state that as Hedon’s Mayor I was given the task to lead on this by Hedon Town Councillors to represent Hedon on this very taxing issue. That is not what the council minute states. Go back and read it Neil.

    The fact is, as an East Riding Councillor I had already got the campaign under way before asking Hedon Town Council if they would be prepared to give their support to the campaign, and their decision would not have stopped it.

    By the time I brought the information to Hedon Council dozens of like-minded parish and town leaders, and the various E.R.Y.C. Councillors including Cllr Parnaby, had already given their full support. They unanimously placed their confidence in me as leader of the campaign to see it through.

    Another important fact is that the HandsOff group members were completely ‘cross-party’ and comprised a mix of concerned residents, not only councillors, but all sorts of people. Party politics did not come into it!

    Just remind me Neil, so that bloggers can see what your contibution amounted to,

    How many of the dozens of Hands Off meetings did you actually attend? None!

    How many ‘It’s a No-No’ banners did you actually take out? None!

    How many of the 40,000 ‘It’s a No-No’ campaign leaflets did you deliver? None!

    How many weeks of your valuable time did you give up to defend your community? None!

    The campaign took 16 weeks of my time, and that of other committed members.

    You refer to me as disingenuous Neil. I expect an apology.

    For you to claim the credit for the Labour Party is frankly insulting to me and the many members of HandsOff who actually got out there to fight for their communities.

    John P. Dennis

    1. You can. Indeed have my apology for using the word disingenuous. Sorry I struck a nerve.

      It would appear that have spent the last thirty years as a councillor sat on my hands. Well thanks for that

  3. Ray, Great job. I agree with John that the effort you have put into covering the different party campaigns for East Riding and for Beverley and Holderness has been huge and helped inform people of the choices they have on Thursday, choices that set the direction of the country and county for the next few years. Well done Ray for leading on this as so many other local issues.

    I do take issue with the Tories “deserve to win” line. They have been to council meeting and dealt with local issues. I should hope so too ! They were elected to do so – and get paid an allowance and expenses for it. Incumbency is not a reason to win.

    And as for campaigning, I’m sure people will have seen all three parties stalls in Hedon regularly not just over the last few months but several years. But it is only the Labour Party candidates who have been out in all weathers talking to residents on their doorsteps. We’ve spoken to over 2000 people and very many of them commented that we were the first party to bother to come and talk to them ever !

    As my colleague Neil Black pointed out in a separate note, the Labour Party locally has been just as keen to protect Hedon’s special status and environment as he has been doing for 30 years on Hedon Council. Its not something unique to the Tories. Whilst putting all their focus into rejecting non-proposals, they have failed to address Hedon’s real urgent problems like roads parking and housing; hiding behind the fact our drainage is inadequate, as a reason for inaction. For goodness sake lets get East Riding and Yorkshire Water to sort our drainage, not just raising higher walls to protect Paull.

    Holderness has not traditionally been a Tory area of East Yorkshire. with a strong liberal and radical tradition. Until 4 years ago 2 Lib Dems represented South West Holderness. This election they are not even on the ballot paper, but I’m confident we as Labour Councillors can give this area a stronger voice in the East Riding. We’ve heard nothing from the Tories about plans to invest in the area.. just scare stories about Hull. So I think this election is wide open, with no clear favourites

    1. As a new resident to the area since December 2014 i have seen no doorstep campaigning on the new estate off Farrand road, surely this would be good pickings as people moving to the area might not have any idea on local candidates policies and views.

  4. This response from Neil Black one of three Labour candidates for South West Holderness:

    The defence of Hedon is not the preserve of the Tory Party as is suggested by John Dennis. It is somewhat disingenuous of my friend and fellow Hedon Town Councillor to imply that it is (in the Hedon Blog election campaign summary above – Editor).

    “‘defence’ is the major feature of the Conservative campaign. Defence of open green spaces, defence of boundaries, defence against urban and industrial sprawl – and crucially for them, defence against what they see as the predatory aims of Labour controlled Hull City Council”

    As Hedon Mayor he was given the task to lead on this by Hedon Town Councillors to represent Hedon on this very taxing issue. Not by his political party:

    From Hedon Town Council Minutes:
    “Cllr. J. Dennis gave information and made reference to a proposed referendum. Following considerable discussion it was RESOLVED that Hedon Town Council and its members should be prepared to become involved in a campaign to ensure that as many residents as possible become involved in the proposed referendum using Council members and as many external volunteers as possible to defend the boundaries of Hedon”.

    In fact to defend our historic town, as most residents will well know, has been my “raison d’etre” since I joined the council in May 1985.

    Throughout that time I and my fellow councillors have campaigned tirelessly for Hedon’s unique status and its green belt to be protected

    Perhaps we in the Labour Party could justly claim it has been our campaign.

    Neil Black
    Neil Black web

  5. Ray.

    I’d like to thank you for putting this article together and I’m sure I speak for all the candidates when I say we appreciate greatly the time and effort you have put into this whole election process.
    The introduction of social media into the election has, in my opinion opened up the whole issue to a much wider audience than ever before.
    Well done


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