GRAHAM Jones' welcome for the new county council leadership’s promise to re-open libraries across Lancashire closed by their Labour predecessors surprised many.

New Tory leader Geoff Driver couldn’t resist accusing the Labour politician of a belated u-turn.

However, as often in politics, not all is at it seems.

As MP for Hyndburn, Mr Jones broke ranks from his county colleagues and fought tooth and nail to save not just the libraries in Oswaldtwistle, Clayton-le-Moors and Great Harwood as well as Helmshore Textile Museum but similar cultural hubs across the county.

A prominent figure in the successful 2015 backbench rebellion against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition to airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, he took a petition to Parliament calling for them to stay open.

And he appears to have as much of a hand in government minister Rob Wilson’s threat of an inquiry into the decision as Ribble Valley Tory Nigel Evans and the ‘Save Whalley Library’ campaigners.

His Conservative General Election opponent Kevin Horkin withdrew his own condemnation of Mr Jones' ‘change of heart’ after hastily checking the facts.

He said: “Once again Graham, as on Syria, seems to be at odds with his party.

“He is not putting Mr Corbyn’s photo on his leaflets and appears to be fighting this election as the Graham Jones Party, rather than a Labour candidate”

While Mr Jones is open about his differences with Mr Corbyn, whom as a Labour whip he unsuccessfully tried to keep in line, his support on libraries is conditional.

His letter to Cllr Driver makes clear he expects them to fully reopen with trained staff and the same number of books or face protest.

Mr Jones said: “They need to be reopened with no false promises or half measures.”

His independent attitude should be no surprise with Mr Corbyn using a New Labour slogan ‘For the Many not the Few’ and Mr Horkin branding himself as ‘A Brexit candidate for a Brexit borough’

The prime minister is campaigning as ‘Theresa May’s Team’ with reference to the Conservatives, whom she once alluded to as ‘the nasty party’, in the small print.

So in strange political times, Mr Jones seems entitled to campaign for people to ‘Vote Labour’ not to put Mr Corbyn in Number 10 but to keep him as their MP.