Preston brothers standing for opposing sides in local elections

Oh brother where art thou? The answer for two of the Crowe clan is on opposite sides of the political divide.

Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 8:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 2nd May 2018, 8:06 am
Simon and Phil Crowe

For while Phil Crowe will again be flying the flag for Labour in Preston’s Larches ward on election day tomorrow, his younger brother Simon is fighting across the city on behalf of the Tories.

Phil, 61, who has served as a city councillor for Larches for the past eight years, and is hoping to be re-elected tomorrow.

He said: “If Simon wants a window frame painting or a skip filling or some concreting I help - we’ll do it together.

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“But we don’t discuss politics. He’s always wrong. He’s a misguided soul!”

In turn Simon, 54, who is standing for the Conservatives in Moor Park said: “I hope he gets back in because he’s my brother, but obviously for my party to do well some of his colleagues will have to lose their seats.”

The pair come from a family of eight, comprising five sisters and three brothers and Phil said: “The family wasn’t really political.

“My father used to be a clerk at a polling station, but nothing else really. He was never a member of any party.”

Simon, who is a consultant engineer, has stood in local elections before but this is the first time in Preston.

As a former chairman of Lancashire Young Conservatives, his political life started in his formative years.

He said: “Some things we agree on, some things we don’t, we don’t really discuss political things too much.

“Phil works for a few charities that help schools in Africa and I support him in that.

“It is a bit unusual (standing for opposing parties) but we still get on even though we have different political views.”

Phil says his route into politics came through his trade union work as a union rep at British Aerospace, through a respect for the late Labour leader John Smith and through helping another local candidate with leafleting many years ago.

He added: “When John Smith died I joined the Labour party because I thought he was a decent bloke.

“I’ve been a union rep for 30 odd years.”

He was asked to stand in Larches and contested the seat a couple of times before gaining his seat on the council in 2010.

Phil, who worked for British Aerospace (BAE Systems) for 37 years, is now a caretaker at the Unite union’s Preston offices. In another coincidence, the politically opposed pair have houses opposite each other on the same street - Waterloo Road in Ashton-on-Ribble.

While brotherly love is generally the order of the day, when it comes to politics the brothers know there are boundaries which will not be crossed. Phil summed the situation up: “He does what he does. I do what I do.”

Simon said: “We haven’t really spoken about what would happen if we both get elected.”

Local elections will be held tomorrow in Preston, and one third of the seats on the council are up for election. Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm.

The list of candidates for Moor Park and Larches wards are:

Moor ParkSimon Crowe (Conservative)Nweeda Khan (Labour)

Larches Beth Balshaw (Conservative)Ed Craven (Lib Dem)Phil Crowe (Labour)Mark Kingsley (Ukip)