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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Tony Blair adviser aiming to win Cumbria council seat

A peer who was a special adviser to former prime minister Tony Blair is aiming to secure a seat on Cumbria County Council.

Lord Roger Liddle photo
Lord Roger Liddle

Lord Roger Liddle of Carlisle will contest the Wigton division when voters go to the polls on May 2.

He hopes to seize the seat for Labour from the Conservatives, whose sitting councillor, Joe Cowell, had a majority of 267 at the last election in 2009.

Lord Liddle, the former Cumbria Vision chairman, who lives at Abbeytown and who had a distinguished career as an economic adviser, has sat in the Lords since 2010.

He believes he could combine his role at Westminster with one on the county council “to do more for Cumbria”.

Lord Liddle, who is married to former BBC executive Caroline Thomson, said: “Since we moved to Abbeytown in 2004, I’ve got to know and love the Wigton area and its community spirit.

“Although I was brought up in Carlisle, my family roots are in the Wigton district. My father’s parents were brought up on farms in Drumburgh and Wiggonby,” he added.

“My mother’s parents came from Bolton Low Houses and in the inter-war years, my grandfather was a Wigton justice of the peace and Allhallows councillor.

“I want to be a strong voice for Wigton, defending the town’s way of life.”

If elected, the peer hopes to use his economic background to ensure Cumbria does not lose out to the likes of Newcastle, Manchester and Liverpool.

He added: “In Cumbria we need a stronger Local Enterprise Partnership and a new unity of purpose among our councils – otherwise we’ll never break the cycle of low aspirations, low skills and low pay, with lots of our talented young people leaving the county for good.”

Lord Liddle’s emergence as a candidate has been backed by another peer, Lord Bragg of Wigton, who has spoken in support of him.

His announcement to stand for election comes at the start of the county council election campaigns.

The Conservatives will launch their manifesto today.

Group leader James Airey said: “We go to the polls this year with a strong local record of achievement. We are launching the manifesto to show our record or deliverance over the last four years and the exciting plans we have for the next four years.”

The council is currently controlled by a Tory-Labour coalition.

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