UK Mixed emotions for former mayor who fought an election alongside his mum last minute news
MetiNews.Com - Leigh Drennan and his mum Jean both stood in last week's local elections - but things didn't quite go to plan
Breaking News ! British politics can often be a family affair. From the Benns and the Milibands, to the Johnsons and the Wintertons, plenty of relatives and spouses have fought elections and served their communities over the years. It's no different at Tameside Council - where before last week's election, 14 of the borough's councillors were either related or married to each other. And Leigh Drennan and his mum Jean were the latest family duo hoping to work together on the council. Heading into last week's vote, Leigh had served Ashton Hurst as councillor for nine years, while Jean was hoping to get a seat in the chamber for the first time as the Ashton St Michael's member. Read More Related Articles Crucial support services return in Tameside for the first time since Covid began Read More Related Articles Plans to knock down Tameside apartment block and replace it with 'affordable family' homes back on the table "People are taught to believe that someone might be better at a job than they are," Leigh told the Manchester Evening News . "It's called impostor syndrome - where you think you shouldn't be in this position. "I'd been encouraging mum, telling her 'you are good enough for this, you can put your name forward for this position'." Jean succeeded in her election battle, but things didn't quite go to plan for the family, as Leigh was unseated by Conservative candidate Dan Costello. It's not the first time that the Conservatives have taken Ashton Hurst - and heading into the election, Leigh felt it would be a challenge to hold onto his seat. Before last week, the party's most recent success in the ward was in 2014, when Paul Buckley was elected.. Leigh and Jean both ran for Labour in last week's election (Image: Leigh Drennan) Leigh lost his seat by a margin of 154 votes, giving the Conservatives their first Ashton council member in four years. He said: "I had an idea from the 2019 general election that we were heading in that direction, that we might lose Hurst. "Although I'm disappointed I'm proud of the campaign that we run and the fact that it was such a tight margin." Leigh's defeat was one of the first results announced at last Friday's election count in Ashton-under-Lyne, and what could have been a sour occasion for the Drennans turned bittersweet when Jean's result was announced. In her second election attempt, it became Jean's first council seat victory - having been defeated by Green candidate Lee Huntbach in the 2019 local elections. Despite his own election defeat, Leigh says he was more delighted for his mum than disappointed for himself. Leigh says he had been encouraging his mum to stand as a councillor (Image: Leigh Drennan) He said: "I'm absolutely over the moon.
. "We both got our politics from my granddad. "He always talked about how it is important, no matter how much you have, to look after those that are worse off than you are." Leigh says he avoids talking about politics when he spends time with his mum, but he believes she has a 'common touch' that means she gets on with people who she meets. Even in defeat in 2019, he says Jean showed her true character when she 'did up Cllr Huntbach's tie' after the result was announced. In his nine years on Tameside Council, Leigh became a high-profile figure.
Leigh Drennan during his year as civic mayor, with partner Cory James as his consort
(Image: Tameside Council)
Elected aged just 20 in 2012, he became the youngest councillor to serve as the borough's mayor in 2019-20. In taking on the role, he also became Tameside's first openly-LGBT+ civic mayor, with partner Cory James by his side as consort. "When I was first elected I was the only openly-LGBT+ member on the council," said Leigh. "Now there is much more diversity on Tameside Council. We've got members from all sorts of genders, sexual preferences, different religions, races and communities. I'm proud to have helped push that along. "It's about giving people confidence, and I've spent nine years on the council encouraging people to take that step. A local authority should look and sound like the people it represents." Leigh says he is undecided about his electoral future, but insists he will remain an active campaigner in the Labour Party.
Having achieved so much in local politics at such a young age, was he the inspiration for his mum stepping up to the role? Leigh said: "She has [said that] - but what mum wouldn't say that about their son? "She's an ordinary working woman. There were times when mum and dad were both out of work in the past and I would notice when money had come back in when we would get new trainers - as our old ones were destroyed." Labour lost just one Tameside seat in last Friday's election, leaving the party with 50 councillors to the Conservatives' six, with one Green Party member on the council.