Battle for Suffolk under way
NOMINATIONS closed yesterday's for May's forgotten election – choosing Suffolk's county councillors for the next four years.Tony Blair's decision to hold he General Election on May 5 will completely overshadow the county poll, in which the Conservatives are hoping to recapture control after 12 years from the joint Labour and Conservative administration.
By Graham Dines
NOMINATIONS closed yesterday's for May's forgotten election – choosing Suffolk's county councillors for the next four years.
Tony Blair's decision to hold he General Election on May 5 will completely overshadow the county poll, in which the Conservatives are hoping to recapture control after 12 years from the joint Labour and Conservative administration.
The county elections will also be contested on new boundaries. The number of members has been cut from 80 to 75 and for the first time there will be several two-members wards.
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One of these is St Edmundsbury's Tower division, which has attracted 12 candidates for the double vacancy – two each from Labour, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Greens, the UK Independence Party and the husband and wife team of David and Melinda Nettleton.
Eleven candidates battle it out for the double vacancy in Waveney's Oulton war, including three independents.
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Andrew Cann, who quit the Labour Party after the death of his father, Ipswich MP Jamie Cann, is the Liberal Democrat choice for one of the seats in the Ipswich two-member ward of St Margaret's & Westgate.
The Conservatives are fighting all 75 vacancies. Labour has failed to find a candidate for the St Edmundsbury division of Clare, Wilford in Suffolk Coastal, and Thredling in Mid Suffolk, while the Lib Dems are not fighting the Upper Gipping division in Mid Suffolk or Melford in Babergh, where long serving Independent Richard Kemp is seeking re-election.
UKIP is fielding candidates in all seats in Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury but is absent from the nomination lists in Ipswich, Waveney, Mid Suffolk and Suffolk Coastal.
Several councillors whose seats have disappeared or been redrawn are standing against each – the new combined Suffolk Coastal ward of Aldeburgh and Leiston sees Labour's Joan Girling and Tory Ron Ward head-to-head, while in Forest Heath's Exning & Newmarket, former Tory turned Independent Don Levick takes on Bill Sadler.