Independent councillor John Fox explains why there was such a low turnout at Peterborough local elections

John Fox said the most successful councillors in Peterborough do ‘good, hard work for the area they represent’

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 10th May 2022, 1:57 pm

Councillor John Fox says that in his opinion the reason why so few people turned out for the 2022 Local Elections is because the voters do not trust local councillors who only follow party politics.

Speaking just days after the elections, councillor Fox who is one of four independent councillors on Peterborough City Council, said people on the doorstep care about local issues.

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Peterborough First councillor John Fox (image: David Lowndes)

‘It’s not about party politics’

“The reason that myself, my wife councillor Judy Fox and councillor Steve Lane are elected and then re-elected time and again by the people of Werrington is that they can see with their own eyes what it is that we do in that ward for the voters we represent.

“The same is true of independent councillors such as councillor Chris Harper and the three members of the Green Party.

“It is not about party politics for those councillors, they get elected and then re-elected because they do good work, hard work for the area they represent and, consequently, the people of that area reward that hard work by voting for them – it really is that simple.

“We were out canvassing all day on Thursday to help Steve (councillor Lane). I knocked on so many doors I couldn’t tell you a number, but not once did I hear somebody mention to me ‘oh I can’t vote for Steve because of party gate’ or ‘Brexit paperwork’ or ‘the war in Ukraine’.

“People on their own doorstep are concerned with local issues, things that matter to them locally, things that matter personally.

“And if you, as a councillor, are seen to be doing something that helps people in the area that you represent, then they will elect you and continue to re-elect you because you get things done. It’s simple there is no mystery or voter apathy.”

‘People in Peterborough don’t want party politics’

Councillor Fox pointed out that in his ward, Werrington, if he sees graffiti on a wall or a building he will grab some paint remover even purchasing it and go and remove the graffiti himself.

“I’m not a saint, by any stretch of the imagination”, he added. “But if I see something in my ward such as graffiti, litter, dumped garbage then I’ll go and clear and clean it up myself.

“Why do I do this? Because I genuinely care about the area I represent. When I see the two main parties moaning and groaning about what happens in Westminster and that being the reason why nobody likes them and so doesn’t vote for them in Peterborough, well, it just makes me angry.

“I know from talking to people in some of the other wards in the city that when they try to contact their councillor – the person who is supposed to be representing them – they get fobbed-off with an email saying, ‘I’m busy at the moment, but I’ll get back to you within seven day’.

“Seven days? The matter could over and done with in seven days. Councillors are busy people I accept that’, but the people who elect them expect a response as soon as possible, and seven days is just not good enough.

“People in Peterborough care about their own local issues. They don’t want party politics from Westminster forced down their throats and on their doorsteps. No wonder they didn’t turn out to vote.

“I’ve represented my ward for 18 years now. In that time the Conservatives and the Labour Groups have said time and again ‘how come you always get re-elected in Werrington?’ – well if they don’t know the answer to that after this local election and the low turnout figures we’ve had then perhaps they should re-think a policy or two.”

Independent councilllor Steve Lane was re-elected to Werrington Ward last Thursday with a majority of 878 votes over his nearest rival.

Former Green Party councillor Julie Howell was re-elected to Orton Waterville Ward last Thursday with the largest majority of any candidate, 1,314 votes more than her next nearest rival.

In both cases the candidates attributed their success to the hard work that they do for the people who have voted for them, and that hard work being noticed and acknowledged at the Polling Stations.