ONE of East Lancashire’s first two UKIP councillors, who reported his daughter for alleged electoral fraud, has taken her seat on the council.
Malcolm Pritchard was elected in Milnshaw just days after reporting former deputy leader Clare, and a year after she took his seat on the county council.
But the former mayor did not celebrate his victory.
Instead, he said he wished he had ‘never set his eyes on politics’.
He said: “I just wish I had not been elected but I’m here now so I will have to grin and bear it.
“Politics does not matter to me, people do. Winning is not bitter-sweet, it’s entirely bitter.
“If it had not been for what happened this week she would still in and I would have been proud of her.
“What has happened is wrong and I’m just sorry for Clare.” Labour candidate Clare Pritchard was suspended from her party earlier this week after the allegations came to light. Police are investigating.
She left Hyndburn Leisure Centre, where the votes were counted in Accrington on Friday, after being beaten by 112 votes.
Her relationship with her father is believed to have broken down completely, with Coun Pritchard saying any reconciliation would need to come from her.
Elsewhere, UKIP Hyndburn and Haslingden’s chairman, Paul Thompson, was elected in St Oswald’s, ousting veteran Conservative councillor Doug Hayes, who said he will now retire from politics after 26 years.
Coun Thompson said: “I’m over the moon. In my first by-election we only got 17 votes so this speaks volumes. Membership in Hyndburn is booming and we will not stop.”
UKIP almost saw a third councillor elected, but Ian Robinson lost out to Labour’s Jenny Nedwell by nine votes, after several recounts. Mr Robinson, who previously represented the ward as an independent councillor, said standing for UKIP was not a gamble.
Overall, the Labour-controlled council kept its majority of 11 with 23 seats. The Conservatives lost one seat, as did the Independents, while UKIP gained two.
Labour council leader Miles Parkinson said: “My immediate priorities will now be addressing £3.2m in funding cuts in the next two years, with the most important thing being protecting frontline services. We also hope to set another zero per cent rise in council tax next year.
“In Milnshaw, quite clearly there is an on-going family matter, and it’s very sad between a father and his daughter.
“What is now happening is a police investigation, and I can’t comment on that until it has come to a conclusion.”