IN the last General Election Keighley was one of the closest run contests - with just 239 votes separating Labour’s John Grogan and then sitting Conservative MP Kris Hopkins.

The small majority means Keighley will be one of the most closely watched constituencies in the North on election night.

The seat is considered a bellwether, with its winner affiliated to the winning party nationally in all but two elections since 1959 - with 2017 being one of the two exceptions.

The all male line up of candidates in this year’s election includes the three main parties, the Brexit Party, the sole Social Democrat candidate in the Bradford District and the Yorkshire Party.

We asked each candidate to provide a short biography about themselves.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: John Grogan - LabourJohn Grogan - Labour

John Grogan - Labour

“I live in Burley in Wharfedale where I grew up.

I first campaigned in the Keighley Constituency in 1979 when Bob Cryer won the seat for Labour by just 78 votes. I was the Member of Parliament for Selby between 1997 and 2010 and was elected back to the House of Commons to represent Keighley in 2017 by just 249 votes.

“During the last Parliament I sat on the Select Committees for Environment , Food and Rural Affairs. I also led the campaign for Yorkshire Devolution- to get more decisions affecting our lives made in God’s Own County not Whitehall.

“Whilst not an MP I chaired the last but one deep coal mine to close in Yorkshire - employee owned Hatfield Colliery.

“My number one priority is to get the £22 million needed to renew the wards at Airedale General Hospital so it can celebrate its 50th anniversary next year with a secure future.

“I was inspired to go into politics by my Catholic faith and by the influence of my late father and mother who were both teachers in the area. I am a passionate supporter of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Bradford City Football Club.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Robbie Moore - ConservativesRobbie Moore - Conservatives

Robbie Moore - Conservative

“It is time we had a Parliament which works for everyone. MPs have spent the last three years arguing and ignoring the result of the Brexit referendum. Our constituency voted to leave, something which my Labour opponent has continually ignored. I will respect the views of the people of Keighley and Ilkley and get Brexit done, so we can start focusing on our exciting domestic agenda and unleash the potential Britain has to offer.

There is much to do. Like, getting more police back on the streets, improving our schools and creating more school places, and investing in our local NHS.

“Keighley’s town centre needs revitalising so it can be a place residents and businesses can be proud of. Ilkley’s new parking policy introduced by Labour run Bradford Council needs urgent reform. Crippling traffic congestion across the constituency needs bringing to an end with new road improvements, and the pedestrian footbridge over the dual carriageway between Silsden and Steeton needs building.

“I will always put the interests of Keighley and Ilkley first. That’s why I support the campaign for Keighley and Ilkley to leave Bradford Council so we can make our own decisions about our own priorities, and ensure our council tax is spent here, rather than in Bradford city centre.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Tom Franks - Liberal DemocratTom Franks - Liberal Democrat

Tom Franks - Liberal Democrat

Tom Franks is a civil engineer by profession. After an initial spell in road and runway construction he joined a consulting engineering firm specialising in irrigation and water resources for development. He continued in that profession when he joined the Project Planning Centre at Bradford University in 1984. He has lived and worked in many countries overseas, with long spells in Sudan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Tanzania, working on irrigation, flood protection and wetland management. This experience has given him some understanding of some of the key environmental issues of our day, as well as the way societies and communities can work together for the common good, while allowing individuals to flourish.

Tom knows the constituency well, having moved to Ilkley with his young family in 1984. Shortly after that he became chair of the Wharfedale Rail Users’ Group, at a time when rail services to Bradford were under threat. He was elected to Ilkley Town Council in May 2019. He leads for the Town Council on traffic and parking, which are hotly-debated issues in Ilkley at the present time. Transport has therefore been a continuing theme for him, ever since he came to West Yorkshire.

Tom volunteers one day a week with an advice service in Bradford. He belongs to a poetry-writing group and for relaxation plays tennis as often as he can.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Waqas Ali Khan - Brexit PartyWaqas Ali Khan - Brexit Party

Waqas Ali Khan - Brexit Party

“I intend to stand because I believe towns and cities like Keighley and Bradford that I call home have fallen into ruins. The residents deserve a parliamentary representative that best reflect the people locally and nationally. We must also fight for democracy and have an MP for Keighley that represents the 53.3% that voted leave in the 2016 referendum and an MP that believes we would thrive as an independent nation. “Many MPs have an objective to disrupt, delay and cancel Brexit. A complete mistrust to voters and now we are set a task to help change that and replace the MPs with honest candidates that believe in the patriotic values of our country. I’m not a politician, yet, but I am a concerned citizen. I want the next generation to grow up in a democratic country and know their votes casted at the ballot box can shape society. We saw this in the aftermath of the European Elections, the Brexit Party gained more MEPs than any other party, almost completely wiping out the Tories and Jeremy Corbyn’s confused stance saw them fall to third position with only a handful of elected members. Nevertheless, with so many people misrepresented and angry, I decided to stand up for what I believe and put myself forward as a candidate to represent the people of Keighley”.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Matthew Rose - Social DemocratMatthew Rose - Social Democrat

Matthew Rose - Social Democrat

“I am a solicitor and I get the train every day to work in Leeds. I live in Silsden with my wife who is a teacher at a school in Bradford, and my step-children who go to a local primary school. I am a trustee of Silsden Town Hall and was heavily involved in the negotiations to take the Town Hall back into community ownership from Bradford MDC. I also volunteer with the Silsden Gala team, most recently putting up fencing in the pouring rain for our fireworks night and helping to marshal on the evening. I am standing in this election because I believe in localism; that our communities should have more powers to choose how they are managed and where money is spent. We should have our own District Council independent of Bradford MDC, and that it is unfair that City councillors can outvote us 2 to 1 whenever there is a decision to be made about where money is spent. And we need an MP who can genuinely represent the people of this area, and is not simply a puppet of a political party, which I can do as the Social Democrats reject the Whip system.”

  • The Yorkshire Party, which calls for better funding and investment in Yorkshire, had been contacted for a bio and photograph of Mark Barton, the party’s Keighley candidate, but the Telegraph & Argus has yet to receive a response.