Francis Tunney and his family have lived in Utkinton for almost 30 years. Over the years he has been resolutely conservative, believing that they stood for growth and development, but recently that has changed and in the past couple of elections his vote has wavered somewhat between Conservative, Liberal and Labour – this is the first time he will be voting ‘Independent’
Q1. What has made you decide to back our independent candidate, Eveleigh Moore Dutton, in the local elections rather than a candidate from a party?
My family and I moved to Utkinton almost 30 years ago, but it wasn’t till I semi-retired in 2011/2 that I became involved in the Village being co-opted to the Parish Council and then elected as Chair.
I have to say that when voting in local elections my ‘backing’ is for the person, rather than the party. I have known Eveleigh for about seven years – since I became a member of Utkinton and Cotebrook Parish Council – and in all that time she has been true to her word and when she says that she will do something, it usually gets done. More recently we have worked very closely in developing a proposal for a transport solution that represents ‘Transport for All the Community’ – an alternative bus service that could provide links between the four Tarporley Ward Parishes to the ‘outside world’ (sic).
I admired her position when she resigned the Conservative whip on Cheshire West and Chester and since then she has worked very hard to become involved in many of the local causes and activities. Turning to Eveleigh for advice on any matter usually evinces a good response. It is highly likely that all the candidates in this Borough Council election have issues that they will campaign on and Eveleigh’s resonate with my own views for the longer-term. Nevertheless, I wish all five candidates good fortune.
Q2. What do you look for when considering local council candidates?
The answer lies (to badly paraphrase Sid Rumpold) in the question. It’s about being seen to be local. Any of the five candidates need to be seen to adding value, not simply putting forward issues that suit their party politics. Candidates need to be accessible, approachable, available and willing to listen and take some action.
Q3. What would you say to residents if chatting about the local elections?
This year, in particular, with local as well as national (and, perhaps, international) issues there’s a lot to discuss. But, were such a conversation be struck up it would probably run; parish, ward, borough and country with parish issues being closest to my heart. I wouldn’t ask them how they might vote, that would be impertinent, but what they want to see in the locality. For me it would be transport, the condition of our roads, safety and speeding, play and recreation, plus facilities right across the age group. It should come as no surprise but the three rural parishes of Little Budworth, Eaton and Rushton and Utkinton and Cotebrook have different needs to Tarporley. However, to answer the question – I’d simply ask them what their highest priority for the next four years might be and who might be best placed to deliver it.
Q4. What will you say to Eveleigh next time you see her in the ward?
Thank you. It isn’t just about Members’ Funds but about the value you bring to our Parish. Keep it up and ‘Good Luck!’
Francis was interviewed by Caroline Hall