Welcome to my local campaigns website, where you will find information regarding my campaigning on behalf of the residents of the Parish of South Kirkby and Moorthorpe.
Firstly let me tell you a little about the Parish. The Parish is made up of the town of South Kirkby and it’s smaller village neighbour, Moorthorpe. Both settlements were noted in the Domesday Book and archaeological remains of prehistoric, Roman and Iron Age settlement and activity are found within the Parish. From our ancient and nationally important South Kirkby Camp (a scheduled ancient monument) to our part in the First English Civil War (we were home to Colonel John Morris and Reverend George Beaumont), our little part of Yorkshire has a rich vein of history that taps directly into our wider national identity. In more recent history agriculture, coal mining and stone quarrying have vastly altered the identity of the former sparsely inhabited settlements, creating a close-knit and hardworking community that was ravaged by the closure of South Kirkby Colliery.
Politically the settlements are served locally by South Kirkby and Moorthorpe Town Council and at district level by Wakefield Metropolitan District Council, though the Parish is situated on the extreme edges of the Wakefield district. The Parish is served at a constituency level by Jon Trickett, the Member of Parliament for Hemsworth. Created in 1918 the Hemsworth parliamentary constituency is one of the safest in the entire United Kingdom, being held continually by the Labour Party since creation. It is also the longest held Labour seat, which led to a high profile battle, in the 1996 by-election. Candidates for the by-election included comedian Mark Thomas (no relation) for his Channel 4 series, broadcaster Peg Alexander for the Green Party, Screaming Lord Sutch for the Monster Raving Looney Party, and Peter Davis for the fledgling UKIP.
Finally (and least importantly) let me introduce myself. My name is Matthew Thomas, i have lived in the locality most of my life and am proud of my coal mining heritage. I studied locally at Common Road and later at Minsthorpe, prior to the University of York. I am passionate about heritage and feel that our local history is something to be very proud of. I am also proud to be researching and publishing the history of South Kirkby Colliery Football Club, a remarkable story that may well surprise you. Click here for details. Most of my family are staunch Labour voters, primarily due to their ties to coal-mining and the bitter year long miners’ strike of 1984/85 (and subsequent closure of the collieries). However, i am a member of the Yorkshire Party. As a member of the Yorkshire Party i agree to abide by the Bell Principles (code of conduct) regardless of whether or not i stand as a candidate at any level. More can be read on the Bell Principles here. In September 2017 i was elected to the Executive Committee of the Yorkshire Party for the first time. In October 2017 i was appointed Regional Liaison Officer for the Yorkshire representative football team via YIFA.
I am not anti-Labour. Let me make that very clear.
For example, I have a very good working relationship with Councillor Michelle Collins (Labour) who i have discussed many local issues with in the past. I am a member of the Yorkshire Party because i believe that for too long Yorkshire has been let down by the main parties, regardless of who formed the government. Let me qualify that. For example, whilst it is without doubt that the Conservative government must be held responsible for the decimation of our local industry, since the closure of the colliery (and my entire lifetime) we have had a Labour led district council, Labour Member of Parliament and a Parish council made up primarily of Labour councillors in one guise or another. Add to this the Labour government of Tony Blair and i have to question why my community is still one of the poorest in the entire European Union, when measured by GDP? Why, despite the hard work of our local teachers, the level of investment in our schools is dwarfed by the investment in schools in the south (leading to less than average academic attainment) and why the grey cloud brought to this area by the Conservatives still remains, decades later?
It is time for a different voice in this area, one that crosses the old political divide to speak up for locals. That voice is the voice of the Yorkshire Party.