‘We don’t want more of the same’, says Pateley Bridge mayoral candidate
Apr 15, 2024

In the first of a series of interviews with candidates to be the first Mayor of York and North Yorkshire, the Stray Ferret speaks to Keith Tordoff who is standing as an independent.

Keith Tordoff is no stranger to the election scene.

The Pateley Bridge businessman stood for North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner twice and has now put his name forward again for Mayor of York and North Yorkshire.

Initially standing for the Yorkshire Party, Mr Tordoff will once again be contesting the election on May 2 as an independent.

The Stray Ferret met him in Tordoff Gallery, his film poster venture on Pateley Bridge High Street which he operates alongside wife Gloria, to discuss his latest election campaign.

The 67-year-old is keen to stress that the mayor should be independent and that he has the credentials for the role.

Mr Tordoff spent 20 years as a police officer in Leeds, working on cases such as that of Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire ripper. He later went into business and founded the Oldest Sweet Shop in the World in Pateley Bridge, which he sold in March 2021.

He boasts that he has not been on holiday abroad for 25 years as North Yorkshire is a “fantastic place to live”.

But, despite the extensive experience, Mr Tordoff is standing as an independent as opposed to joining any of the established political parties.

“I am an independent, which I think is very important because I think it is a role that should be independent.

“They [the political parties] are always going to try and get what they want for their particular area. Whereas, if I was elected, I can act to work with them but I can also act to work with all the people from both communities which is what it should be about.”

For him, the election is the last opportunity for an independent to get into power.

“This is the last ditch opportunity for people in York and North Yorkshire to have somebody elected who will deliver for them.”

‘These are not flights of fancy’

Mr Tordoff is full of ideas, though some have led to disagreements and raised eyebrows.

He points to his manifesto and priorities, where he pledges to make public transport free for under-18s to get to school and college, introduce a single ticket for frictionless travel and unlock brownfield land for 2,000 homes.

“These are not flights of fancy, these are deliverable.”

Keith Tordoff.

Keith Tordoff on Pateley High Street

He also feels the mayor should only have one office in York in order to save money, rather than the proposed two offices in York and Northallerton.

But perhaps his most attention grabbing policy pledge has been to give 2,000 households three free chickens.

Mr Tordoff claimed the move would help to save 100 tonnes of food waste each month and improve the health of poorer households.

He announced the policy in June last year, when he was standing as the Yorkshire Party’s mayoral candidate. But the controversy it generated led to him resigning from the party and becoming an independent.

Mr Tordoff told the Stray Ferret that he “100%” stood by the pledge and described it as “deliverable”.

He said:

“Some people pooh poohed it. But bear in mind, everybody was talking about and is still talking about it.

“It was nearly a year ago that I said that and it clearly resonated with people.”

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Despite being up against established political parties, Mr Tordoff remains confident people will vote for something different this time:

“I am hoping the public are disillusioned and there is a realisation that if we vote for these people again then we are going to get more of the same.”

The York and North Yorkshire mayor will be chosen by residents of the region in an election on Thursday, May 2, 2024.

The deadline to register to vote is 11:59pm, Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

The full list of candidates are:

  • Keith Tordoff, independent
  • Felicity Cunliffe-Lister, Liberal Democrats
  • Keane Duncan, Conservative Party
  • David Skaith, Labour Party
  • Kevin Foster, Green Party
  • Paul Haslam, independent