Groups to challenge Tories at elections

A FARMER who hit the headlines for selling professional execution equipment, a group of suspended Conservatives, the British National Party and a contingent from the UK Independence Party are among those challenging Tory domination of council politics in next month's district elections.

By Graham Dines

A FARMER who hit the headlines for selling professional execution equipment, a group of suspended Conservatives, the British National Party and a contingent from the UK Independence Party are among those challenging Tory domination of council politics in next month's district elections.

The Conservatives are fielding candidates in almost every seat in Suffolk and north Essex, and although Labour and the Liberal Democrats are hoping to break the Tory stranglehold, it is the smaller parties and independents which could be the main challengers in a number of seats.

There are all-out elections in Suffolk Coastal, Mid Suffolk, Babergh, St Edmundsbury, Forest Heath, Tendring, Braintree, Maldon, Uttlesford and Chelmsford, while a third of councillors will be elected in Ipswich, Colchester and Waveney.


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David Lucas, who runs a farm in Mildenhall from where he manufactured and exported gallows for executions, is standing in Lakenheath ward of Forest Heath to become a “voice for the little people” in his crusade to save rural shops and businesses.

“I want to start a national campaign for the survival of rural Britain which is being destroyed by large supermarkets and the Government. I feel very passionate about this as I want to see local people start using their own local communities,” he said.

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Warwick Hirst, town mayor and leader of the new Forest Heath Independent Alliance Party, which is fielding a number of candidates in Newmarket, said their concern was to raise the profile of the town on the Mildenhall-based authority.

The UK Independence Party is targeting Forest Heath, with eight candidates, and also Babergh, where they have 12 candidates.

The far right British National Party is standing in two rural Suffolk wards -Badwell Ash in Mid Suffolk and Yoxford in Suffolk Coastal.

In Mid Suffolk, the row over the proposed abolition of middle schools by Suffolk county council has surfaced in Bacton & Old Newton where Sarah Stringer, who chaired the pressure group Parents Action for Children's Education, is standing as an Independent.

Four candidates from a new group Suffolk Together are standing, in the Claydon & Barham, Needham Market, Bramford, and Barking & Somersham wards.

The alliance is born out of the opposition to the multi-million pound SnOasis development proposed for Great Blakenham, but their platform in Mid Suffolk is to improve the council's performance and to raise awareness of the problems of town and parish councils in the district.

Mid Suffolk and Babergh are two of the handful of areas in East Anglia where the Tories are not fighting every seat. In Mid Suffolk, they have failed to put up candidates in Woolpit - which is the base of the Conservative Party in the Bury St Edmunds constituency - and Eye. In Babergh district, independents have been given a free run in Chadacre and Holbrook.

There are five Tories returned unopposed in Forest Heath, in the Woodbridge Kyson division in Suffolk Coastal, and the Bures St Mary and Lavenham divisions of Babergh.

In St Edmundsbury district, Dorothy Whittaker was returned unopposed in Hundon and her son is one of two Tories who have no opposition in the two-member Haverhill West ward. Conservatives in the Cavendish, Chedburgh and Withersfield ward are also not facing an election.

In Ipswich, two wards have five candidates - St Margaret's were the sitting Liberal Democrat John Cooper faces opposition from Tory, Labour, Green and an Independent, and in Westgate, where Labour's John Cook is hoping to see off candidates from the Tories, Lib Dems, Greens, and UKIP.

In Colchester, the Liberal Democrats hopes of capturing the authority were hit by the resignation of their leader Terry Sutton two weeks' ago. The Tories are now confident of an overall majority in the borough, which also includes Dedham, Wivenhoe and Tiptree.

nWaveney district council declined to release the names of nominated candidates, saying it would wait until April 10 when the information would be released on its web site.

nA detailed round-up of nominations will be published in tomorrow's EADT.

graham.dines@eadt.co.uk

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