LOCAL and national issues, traditional party loyalties and personal support for individuals will all be tested in Pendle’s May local elections, following the mass resignation of Labour councillors.

The Israel-Gaza conflict, Pendle regeneration and town centre schemes; housing, health and pharmacy services, trains including the Colne-Skipton rail reopening campaign, buses and green spaces are likely to be among topics for the election which will see a third of the seats on the council up for grabs.

Also flood protection, future cemetery space, youth clubs, anti-social behaviour, industrial estates, business support and upgrades for smaller towns and villages have been part of Pendle politics in recent times. And Lancashire devolution too.

Councillors who recently resigned from the Labour Party in protest at Gaza and the national party leadership, are standing for re-election as independents or with no formal political description, according to Pendle Council lists for the May 2 poll.  Some will face competition from new Labour Party candidates while others will not.

Among the well-known candidates who left Labour are Mohammed Iqbal, a former Pendle Council leader, standing in Bradley;  and Naeem Ashraf, who left Labour last year, standing in Brierfield East and Clover Hill. No new Labour candidates have been chosen to compete against them.  But they both face Conservative opponents, according to election lists.

Asjad Mahmood, the current council leader who also left Labour, is standing in Whitefield and Walverden. He faces competition from both Labour and Conservative candidates.

Regarding other parties, Conservative Nadeem Ahmed, another former Pendle Council leader, is standing for re-election in Barrowford and Pendleside. Ash Sutcliffe is standing again in Waterside and Horsfield and Sarah Cockburn-Price at Boulsworth and Foulridge.

Lib-Dem candidates include Tom Whipp standing at Barnoldswick and the current Pendle mayor Brian Newman at Fence.

The Green Party has put forward candidates in various wards and will be keen to make a breakthrough.  Pendle politics has traditionally been dominated by the big three parties of Labour, Conservatives and the Lib-Dems.

Across Pendle, 12 seats on the council are being contested. One councillor will be elected from each ward of Barnoldswick, Barrowford and Pendleside, Boulsworth and Foulridge, Bradley, Brierfield East and Clover Hill, Brierfield West and Reedley, Earby and Coates, Fence and Higham, Marsden and Southfield, Vivary Bridge, Waterside and Horsfield and Whitefield and Walverden.

In Barnoldswick, people nominated to stand are Euan Clouston for the Labour Party, Sylvia Joyce Godfrey for the Green Party, Carol Ann Goulthorp for the Conservative Party and Tom Whipp for the Liberal Democrats.

Earby and Coates, candidates are  David Hartley for the Lib-Dems, David Phillip Johns for Labour, Richard Rutherford for the Conservatives and Jane Veronica Bailes Wood for the Green Party.