Phil Sawford - St Giles Ward

By philsawford on March 29, 2018

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Phil Sawford - St Giles Ward

Phil has lived in Desborough for 47 years with his wife Rosemary. Both of their sons attended Havelock and Montsaye Schools and still live in the area. He served as a Town Councillor for the Loatland Ward of Desborough for 20 years (1977 to 1997) He also served as a Borough Councillor for 17 years and was Leader of the Borough Council from 1991 to 1997.

With a solid background of speaking up for local people and working for the local community Phil went on to serve as the Member of Parliament for the Kettering Constituency from 1997 to 2005.

Phil says – ‘ I thought I had retired from front line politics but, 40 years after I was first elected to the Town Council, I am so concerned about recent events that I cannot stand by whilst Desborough has been so badly served by its elected representatives. I appreciate the support that the people of Desborough have given to me in the past and once again ask for your support in this important by-election.’

‘I have never been afraid to stand up and speak out for our town and would welcome the opportunity to do so again.’

If you have any issues, views, opinions, concerns, that you would like to discuss, my contact details are at the bottom of this page.

1st May 2018

Well Pioneer Avenue is as good a place as any to spend your wedding anniversary and I had a good chat with a lot of residents. I love Desborough and, though we may fall short on a lot of things, I believe it is the people that make the town what it is.

We have been through some turbulent times, some might say traumatic times recently: Massive tax rises, votes of no confidence and mass resignations. What are people to think? They turn out and elect people to serve the community in good faith and end up feeling alienated, ignored and taken for granted.

This is the seventeenth time that my name has been on a ballot paper in Desborough and the saddest thing about this election campaign is the number of people who are so disillusioned that they are not bothered any more about the Town Council. It is not their fault!

I still remember when Desborough had a Labour council that listened to local people, that provided a voice for the town, that spoke out on community issues, that fought for our fair share of resources, that provided leadership and worked hard for the whole community.

Whatever happens on election day the Council has a massive job to do to regain the trust of local people, to restore the credibility of the council and rebuild the confidence that Desborough people once had in their local democratic structure.

Desborough people want their council back and with Labour they will get it.


A good canvassing session in Federation Avenue. I always find it difficult knocking doors in the street where I have lived for 47 years, Rosie and I moved in to number 46 on the day we got married (1st May 1971) and we have been here ever since. Oh that reminds me, it is our wedding anniversary tomorrow, Will we go for a romantic dinner or should I do Pioneer Avenue tomorrow night?

There are still many residents here who lived in the Avenue when Rosie and I moved in though there have been many changes over the years. The thing I realised again tonight is how much support my neighbours have given to me since I first stood for the council 40 years ago. These are the people in Desborough who have probably known me the longest and it is humbling to know that they have put their faith in me so many times and still do.


Just eight days to Polling Day and people in Desborough want some answers to important questions -

  1. Why vote Labour?
  2. What we stand for
  3. Why it matters
  4. What we will do
  5. Why your vote is important

Using sections from our on-line leaflet I will try to answer the above questions as I feel it is important for the electorate to know what they are voting for and where we stand.

1. Why vote Labour?

2. What we stand for

3. Why it matters

4. What we will do

5. Why your vote is important

I hope the above provides some answers. To see a PDF version of our on-line leaflet click below -

St Gies and Loatland Centre pages

St Gies P1&4

Loatlands P1 & 4


As we try to reach as many doors as possible before Polling Day residents are raising issues of concern and top of the list is the matter of the Parish Precept. People ask  'Why has the amount that Desborough people have to pay gone up so much in recent years?

2015/16       £67,000

2016/17     £350,000

2017/18     £349,700

2018/19    £280,000

My answer to this question is quite simple and straight forward 'Not enough people voted Labour in 2015'.

Up until May 2015 we had five Labour Councillors on the Town Council,

After May 2015 there were 11 Conservatives and 1 UKIP. When there were five Labour Councillors in the room the controlling Conservative group set a figure of £67,000. After that, well the facts speak for themselves.

The moral of this tale - Vote Labour on May 3rd


Desborough in Bloom

At last spring has arrived and I am so pleased that Rosie and I played our part in the 'Desborough in Bloom' initiative. We sponsored a couple of tubs in Station Road (and did the planting) and they are really looking good now.

I go and check them once a week and with this hot weather it may be time to start topping up the water.

Sadly there are other floral displays that do not give such a good impression of the town.


Canvassing on the Grange

A big team out as we try to knock every door and meet as many people as possible before election day. The response on the doorstep was very positive and Desborough people want to get their council back.


 Labour Listens


In the Town Centre on a sunny Saturday morning meeting local residents and listening to their concerns and opinions


What have the Romans done for us?

A great line from a classic Monty Python film but at election times it is a fair question to ask candidates and / or political parties. In our leaflets we remind everyone that Desborough Town Council was Labour controlled from 1978 - 2003 and during this period Labour Councillors worked hard to get things done in the town.

Over the years Labour Councillors were at the forefront in the fight to get our fair share of resources and the services we need for our community. Labour Councillors like Tony Allen, Roger Morris, Alan Panter, David Coe and others campaigned for –

  1. a new Library,
  2. new Fire Station,
  3. a Nursery unit at Loatland School,
  4. parking provision for the bowling greens,
  5. new classrooms at Havelock Junior School
  6. The building of the Care Home in Beech Close.


   The Millenium bridge                          Opening of the by- pass

The Town Council was Labour controlled from 1978 to 2003. During this time Labour Councillors played a large part in getting  -

  1. the refurbishment of ‘The Gaultney’ in Station Road to provide 10 self-contained flats,
  2. the installation of a lift in Hazeland House,
  3. the New Millennium Bridge to link the footpath between Desborough and Rothwell,
  4. The reinstatement of the crossing at the lower end of the town
  5. the £11.5 million bypass which has taken a lot of heavy traffic out of the town,
  6. the refurbishment of Montsaye swimming pool,
  7. £1 million to build new classrooms and replace mobile classrooms at Montsaye
  8. the introduction of CCTV cameras in the town centre and re-paving of Station Road
  9. the building of Bungalows for older residents in Victoria St and Station Road
  10. funding for the new railings around the cemetery
  11. the building of the Gold Street flats and Flats on the corner of Dunkirk Avenue
  12. £2.2 million from the government for the Lawrence's site (that still stands derelict and abandoned)

It’s time for a Labour council give the town a voice again and fight for the things we need in our community!


Out and about meeting people in Paddock Lane and Dunkirk Avenue with Jo Taylor. Fantastic response on the doorstep.  Lots of talk about the good old days when the local council listened to local people and spoke up for the town.

There is something like a sense of relief as people look forward to getting their council back.


Out canvassing in Dunkirk Avenue Area


Don't lose your voice

On the street Stall in Station Road encouraging people to take part in the democratic process by getting on the electoral register, applying for a Postal Vote or a Proxy Vote.

13.4.2018     Friday night canvassing.

I met a nice couple who asked 'What are you going to do for us'. I explained that the next elections are due in May 2019 and it would be difficult to achieve a great deal in just 12 months.

What we can do is to make a start on rebuilding the reputation of the council, restoring the credibility and regaining the trust of local people.


Let's give Desborough people their council back!


Yes, it really is over 40 years since I first stood, and was elected, on to the Town Council.


And over 38 years since I first stood, and was elected, on to the Kettering Borough Council.


Click below for PDF version



Contact Phil Sawford -


Tel: 01536 506580

(Please help us to ensure that your comments, queries etc, reach the correct person by including your name, postal address and contact details in any communication. We may not respond if this information is not included.)

Promoted by : Phil Sawford (Labour candidate for the St Giles Ward) C/o Kettering Constituency Labour Party, 12b Market Street, Kettering, Northants, NN16 0AH.

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