APROPOS the front page of the Craven Herald (Council has to be more open, October 20) and reactions to it, especially the letter (Frustration over town council issues, November 5) may I share a few thoughts?

At the Annual Meeting of the Skipton Town Council, I was elected as leader of the council. This was not a position that I had sought, indeed when all councillors were asked what positions they were prepared to stand for, I ticked on mayor and deputy mayor. In each case to say ‘no’ as these are roles that I have previously been privileged to hold.

Nor did I even state any preference for committees but wrote that I was prepared to serve where it was considered that I would be most used.

However, after all these papers had been submitted I was approached by a number of fellow councillors asking if I would stand as leader.

I realised that holding that position would not be an ‘easy ride’ but accepted nomination and was duly elected.

Undoubtedly, some of those who voted for me were persons that I had actively canvassed against in 2019; some may even be included amongst those (wisely unnamed) ‘certain members’ cited in the letter from J. Horne who believes that they should have stepped down at the town council’s annual meeting.

To this I demur: had my canvassing gone the way that I had hoped some of them would not have been elected. But people of the wards in which they stood thought differently; and it is the decision of the people that rightly prevails.

That there have been issues within the town council that were not ideal is undeniable but, on the whole, the needful tasks before the council have been dealt with to the best of the members’ abilities; not always in the way I would have wished but that is democracy.

As a Christian Socialist, I wear the Labour Party badge as it were, but, and I think that I speak for the vast majority of our half a million members, I am primarily a democrat who would rather see those we oppose in power, if democratically elected, than our own imposed.

From that basis, I commit to attempt to heal all wounds, draw a line under the past and work with all fellow councillors, whatever their political party affiliation, if any and with the staff who are doing a wonderful job,

I have already written to councillors and staff saying that I am supportive of their efforts and available to them.

That availability I extend to all Skipton residents.

As a further comment may I suggest that all who wish to see Skipton Town Council serve Skipton well should use their votes, I have openly said when campaigning, that I would rather people vote against me than not vote at all.

Democracy is in the hands of more than the 16 who comprise Skipton Town Council

Councillor Alan Hickman (Labour), leader of Skipton Town Council.