Veteran councillor’s elevation to Mayor blocked by new Labour administration

A veteran councillor’s elevation to Mayor of her borough has been blocked by its new Labour administration.

Independent Cllr Joyce Plummer, 83, was due to become Hyndburn’s ‘First Citizen’ later this month but now her former party will nominate Barnfield ward’s Cllr Mike Booth in her place. The authority’s Conservative group leader Cllr Marlene Haworth described the move as ‘contemptible, disgusting, disrespectful but most of all disappointing’.

Cllr Plummer was elected for Labour in Accrington’s Peel ward in 2014 and served as its borough finance boss. In June 2022 she was suspended by the group after she accepted an offer to stay in the job from then Independent council leader Miles Parkinson who had quit Labour three months earlier alleging a ‘bullying and vindictive culture’ as he assembled a ‘rainbow’ coalition to run the borough.


After last year’s local elections Cllr Plummer, then an Independent, backed the Conservative group to take over the authority when the two main parties were tied with 16 councillors each. Now after May 2’s council polls Labour has taken control of the council and its leader Cllr Munsif Dad will nominate Cllr Booth in her stead rather than rubber stamp her promotion from deputy mayor at the annual meeting on May 23.

Cllr Plummer said: “I think this has been payback time by the Labour Group for past events. I understand that it has been many many years since the deputy mayor did not automatically become Mayor, unless they lost their seat in the election..

“I am upset the Labour Group have taken this action as I have worked hard and would have been honoured to serve the borough of Hyndburn as Mayor.”

Cllr Haworth said: “Several words spring to mind following the decision: contemptible, disgusting, disrespectful but most of all disappointing. The Mayoralty has been part of Hyndburn for decades.

“It was never intended to be used as a political weapon but the Labour Party have just proved that tradition and respect mean nothing to them. Cllr Plummer definitely deserves this honour.

“It is purely a revenge decision.”

Cllr Dad said: “The Conservative Party in Hyndburn brought disruption and led the politicisation of the Mayoralty. It was disappointing that the Conservative group chose to politicise the mayoralty process, breaking protocol over the past two years by refusing to support the Labour nomination.

“The Labour group’s decision to nominate Cllr Booth, a dedicated individual who has served the borough with integrity for over 50 years, reflects a commitment to honouring those who have significantly contributed to Hyndburn on the borough’s 50th anniversary.

“The Labour group’s decision to nominate him for Mayor is not about revenge but recognising and celebrating his decades of service to our borough.”