Baroness Pinnock goes to Westminster

Lib Dem peer Baroness Pinnock of Cleckheaton will make her maiden speech in the House of Lords today.

She will speak during the debate on the local linance settlement and its implications for the future of local government.

Baroness Pinnock is expected to say: “Thirty years ago and with a young family and a career in teaching, I was motivated to be involved in saving our local school from closure. The success of this campaign gave me a taste for being where the action is. After 28 years continuous service to my town of Cleckheaton in West Yorkshire as their elected councillor, I can still say that being able to serve the community where I live is a role I love.

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Kirklees Council, where I served as leader of the council for six years, serves over 400,000 people in West Yorkshire with the Victorian woollen towns of Huddersfield and Dewsbury at its heart but including my own town of Cleckheaton as well as large rural areas best illustrated as the setting for The Last of the Summer Wine series. A show about a group of elderly rabble rousers and a man called Clegg - something with which I’m sure many of these benches can empathise!”

“Our democratic reaction to this immense change could be hand wringing. That may be satisfying but it won’t get us very far. Those of us committed to providing essential services must think outside the box.

“We need a combination of a serious loosening of the ties with Central Government. Combined with greater accountability to start bringing new vitality and involvement in local democracy once more.”

Kath has represented her local community on Kirklees Council since 1987. She was leader of the Lib Dem group on the council between 1991 and 2014 and Leader of the Council for 6 years.