(NOTE: We contested this election under our old name 'A Better Britain - Unionist Party')
We are pleased to introduce our candidate for the local by-election in Fortissat Ward, North Lanarkshire, where we came close to winning a seat back in May. John Jo Leckie, a well-known member of the local community and a representative on Shotts Community Council since 1992, will be standing for the Unionist Party on Thursday 7th September. Below is a short Q&A interview to give some information on why he is standing, what he is standing for, and how he hopes to provide a strong Unionist opposition voice on North Lanarkshire Council.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve lived and worked in this ward all my life. I worked for the council as a gardener for forty years, first in Stane Gardens and later at Stane and Benhar cemeteries. I’ve also served on Shotts Community Council since 1992, and been involved in several local community groups. For example, I was a founding member of Shape Up Shotts and worked to secure much-needed funds for the regeneration of Stane Gardens. I retired earlier this year, so I want to be able to continue to serve my local community, and that’s why I’m standing to be a councillor.
2. Why did you decide to stand for the Unionist Party?
I’ve always been a firm believer in the Union; we are stronger together than we would be apart, so I’m proud to stand as a Unionist. Also, the big parties have really let this area down. Labour have already broken the promises they made in May, cutting classroom assistants and reducing bin collections to every three weeks. The Conservatives caused this by-election because they stood a paper candidate who refused to take up his seat and said he didn’t think he would have been elected!
As for the SNP, I’m totally opposed to their independence agenda. I think they are more of a dictatorship than a party, and I definitely wouldn’t want to live in an independent Scotland where they were in charge. We need to stop trying to appease them by chipping away at the Union to give them more powers; all they’ve done is use those powers to pass down cuts from the Scottish parliament down onto local councils.
All in all, I want to provide a Unionist opposition voice on North Lanarkshire Council on matters like bin collections and classroom assistants, and I agree with the Unionist Party on the big questions like maintaining Union and leaving the EU, so that’s why I’m standing for them in September.
3. What is your political background?
I was brought up in a Labour household; my father and grandfather were both miners, the jobs here were always in the old heavy industries. I was a GMB shop steward for twenty-five years, and I’ve been a trade union member going back to the days of the General Workers’ Union. I gained a lot of experience in dealing with local issues through serving on Shotts Community Council, and I’ve been proud to serve my local area through it since 1992. I’ve also always been a Unionist, so I would like to be able to use my experience in local issues by serving as a Unionist councillor for this ward.
4. What would you do for your constituents in the ward?
I think it’s disgraceful that the council is cutting bin collections to every third week, and cutting down on classroom assistants. These are two promises that Labour have already broken since the local elections in May. There are other local issues that need addressing like fly-tipping, which has only been made worse by the new lift-up charges the council introduced. Also, the cuts to public services here have gone too far; too many services like the registrar’s office have been moved to Motherwell, which isn’t convenient for local people. I promise to stand up for the people of this ward on all these issues if elected, while also providing a strong Unionist voice.
5. How confident are you about the election?
I’m quietly confident that we will do well. I’ve always lived and worked here and served my community, so people in the local area know that I will do everything I can to stand up for them and represent them when the big parties are letting them down. There are Conservative and UKIP candidates at this election as well, but I’m the only one who actually stays in the ward. It’s also a good unionist ward; the SNP only took one seat out of four here in May, so they know their nationalist agenda isn’t wanted. At by-elections, anything can happen so in the meantime I am happy to campaign and deliver my message to the electorate.
If you would like to help out with the campaign, please get in touch with us through the 'Contact Us' section of this website.