POLL: UKIP has candidates in every division, threat to two sitting Tories, Labour bring in candidates from Cambridge
- Credit: Archant
TRUE to their pledge, UKIP has confirmed today they will be field candidates in all 11 Fenland divisions ahead of next month’s Cambridgeshire County Council election.
What is also surprising is that despite a fragmented – and at times uncertain- political structure, the party has secured local candidates. Labour, on the other hand, has been forced to dip into Cambridge and Huntingdon to recruit what will effectively be four ‘paper’ candidates in some parts of Fenland.
Tories hold all Fenland seats on the county council but that could easily change come polling day, May 2.
Although most suspect they will retain the bulk of their seats, there are two seats which even their own party stalwarts believe will be lost.
The current county councillor for March North Steve Count looks highly vulnerable to the Lib Dem challenge from Stephen Court, who narrowly missed winning a town council by election earlier this year.
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Mr Court will discover his party are pinning considerable hopes on him ousting Cllr Count, a key member of the Cabinet at Shire Hall but not popular among some party workers locally. His stance on Estover playing field and land use has been under scrutiny and his attack on Councillor Kit Owen over inappropriate usage of a council computer will have lost him endorsement in some quarters of the party.
Another fascinating battleground will be Wisbech North where tactical manoeuvres by the Lib Dems could oust first time county councillor Samantha Hoy.
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Cllr Hoy has cut a formidable pose in politics in recent years, winning a recent district council by election, playing an increasingly important role on the town council, and winning nomination for the mayoralty from next month.
But that might be her only good news since independent Virginia Bucknor – a skilled and formidable member of both town and district councils- is her main opponent.
Cllr Hoy is also ‘victim’ of a tactical sting by the Lib Dems who have chosen not to stand here, giving Virginia a clear run in with Labour and UKIP. It is UKIP too who will be after Cllr Hoy’s core vote, making a win here for an independent very likely.
One other surprise today is to discover the name of Martin Field among Labour candidates for a county council seat. Until now Mr Field, who has previously fought district council seats, has been unable to stand for county since he is a teacher and, effectively, an employee of the county council.
However with his school, Neale-Wade, moving to academy status- against his will it should be added- it does mean he no longer works for the county council and is eligible to stand.
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