The Independent Mayor of Copeland has joined the Conservatives as he believes the party are the best equipped to help him achieve the ambitions he has for the borough.
Mike Starkie, who has represented the borough for the past five years, said many of the changes made by the council during his time have had really positive effects for residents, but going forward he would be able to help achieve even more under the Conservatives.
He said: “I now have less than three years left in office and there is still so much we need to do as the change is going to be continuous.
“I have decided the best chance of me achieving the vast ambitions I have for Copeland will be enhanced by now joining the Conservative Party.
“I am a committed Brexiteer and I believe the levelling up agenda that the government was elected on represents the best opportunity for progress in the north, in Cumbria and in particular Copeland for decades.
“The government’s devolution programme which I fully support will further remove inefficiency and bureaucracy that has held Cumbria back for years and indeed accelerate the still significant modernisation of local government that is still needed.
“Working closer within structure of a party who’s manifesto I have bought into and who will be in government in my opinion for at least a decade and way beyond my time of active involvement strengthens my position in representing Copeland and achieving the goals I set out in my own manifesto for Copeland last year which remains unchanged.
“What also remains unchanged is my desire to continue working in cooperation with councillors of all political persuasions in the best interests of the people of Copeland.”
Trudy Harrison MP said: “It really does go without saying that I am so pleased to welcome Copeland mayor Mike Starkie, who has joined the Conservatives after being an Independent.
“I’ve known Mike for many years, he’s always had the best interests of the people of Copeland at heart. We’ve worked together on many projects and local priorities and will do so even more effectively without the barrier of political divide.
“I’m delighted that Mike has joined the Conservatives and I am looking forward to working with him to push for more growth, jobs and investment across the constituency and indeed throughout Cumbria. The Conservative government and our PM, Boris Johnson is committed to levelling up the north, we will be ensuring Copeland benefits from this enhanced partnership.”