Tories benefit from democratic deficit
NOMINATIONS yesterday closed across the region for elections to every district and borough council being held on Thursday, May 1.All out elections are taking place in Suffolk Coastal, Mid Suffolk, Babergh, Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury, while a third of seats are being contested in Ipswich and Waveney.
By Graham Dines
NOMINATIONS yesterday closed across the region for elections to every district and borough council being held on Thursday, May 1.
All out elections are taking place in Suffolk Coastal, Mid Suffolk, Babergh, Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury, while a third of seats are being contested in Ipswich and Waveney.
In Mid Suffolk, Stowmarket stalwarts Eric and Betty Jones, who resigned from the Labour Party and won seats standing as Independent Labour in 1999, are not seeking re-election.
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Another former Labour councillor Mike Shave is standing as an Independent in a three-cornered fight against a Tory and a Green in Bacton & Old Newton, while former council leader Terry Green is not seeking re-election in Bramford & Blakenham.
In Rattlesden, Petty Otton – the Liberal Democrat who currently leads the council – faces a tough fight from Lord Morris, who is standing as an Independent.
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Mid Suffolk is one of the Conservative Party's target councils, where it is trying to wrest control from a Liberal Democrat-led alliance.
Following last week's announcement that 12 Conservatives face no contests in St Edmundsbury's experimental total postal vote, Mid Suffolk will also have no elections in three wards on May 1.
Liberal Democrat Vivienne Hoy has been returned unopposed in Barking & Somersham, Charles Flatmam (Independent) faces no contest in Eye and Conservative Charles Tilbury is unopposed in Wetheringsett.
In Suffolk Coastal – where two firefighters are standing in Felixstowe - nine Tories have been returned unopposed in Kesgrave, Rushmere St Andrew, Nacton and Witnesham.
There are no such democratic deficits in Labour-dominated Ipswich, where Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats are fielding candidates in all 16 wards. However, the threatened intervention of the far-right British National Party has not materialised.
The Green Party has candidates in Alexandra and St John's, the Christian People's Alliance will be fighting Bixley, Rushmere and Gainsborough while a Save Broomhill Pool candidate will contest Priory Heath.
Labour party agent John Cook will be trying to unseat Liberal Democrat Jane Chambers in Alexander, the deputy director of the regional Labour Party Jane Shaw stands in St Margaret's, and Carole Jones, a former Mid Suffolk councillor and parliamentary candidate for Suffolk Central and Ipswich North in 1997 and 2001 Carole Jones, is Labour's choice in Whitton.
In the Babergh district, boundary changes have created a number of new wards with Hadleigh being split into two divisions for the first time. Six candidates will be fighting for two vacancies in both North and South wards.
Sitting councillors standing down include Sylvia Cann in Sudbury East, Raj Nandi in Great Cornard South, Mary Bancroft in Raydon, Jonquille Mieville in Leavenheath, Jack Godley in Holbrook, and Jacqueline Heselden in Dodnash.
Eight seats are uncontested and the number of candidates is well down from 90 in 1999 to 78 this time.