One of Preston’s most active councillors has announced he is standing down for family reasons.
Indpendent Socialist Michael Lavalette is to quit the authority after 10 years, insisting: “I no longer feel I can give constituents what they deserve from their local councillor.
“It’s been a pleasure and an honour, but I have a family member who is very ill and it’s very difficult for me right now to commit the amount of time I would like to being a member of the council.”
Coun Lavalette, a professor at Liverpool Hope University, was first elected in the Town Centre ward in 2004 as a candidate for the Socialist Alliance Against the War, opposing the conflict in Lebanon.
He came close to getting a motion passed to twin Preston with Nablus on the West Bank. And he organised one of the biggest demonstrations seen in Preston for a generation against the war in Lebanon and attacks on Gaza. He was re-elected in 2006 as a Respect Party candidate and has since won two elections as an independent. He has led campaigns against Netcare and the privatisation of the NHS and was the spokesman for the campaign against Fulwood High School becoming an academy.
“To be honest I never expected to get elected in the first place in a very safe Labour seat,” he said. “I have always been incredibly grateful to all those people who have put an X in the box.
“But with my circumstances it’s no longer possible for me to put in the amount of time I need to do the job properly.”