Polls apart

PUBLISHED: 12:32 23 June 2006 | UPDATED: 21:57 28 May 2010

Florence Newell

Florence Newell

TORY hopeful Florence Newell says her personal dislike of her opponent in the forthcoming Chatteris by-election was the reason she switched her allegiance from the Liberal Democrats Her opponent, Chris Howes, is fighting Mrs Newell for the vacant seat on

Chris Howes

TORY hopeful Florence Newell says her personal dislike of her opponent in the forthcoming Chatteris by-election was the reason she switched her allegiance from the Liberal Democrats

Her opponent, Chris Howes, is fighting Mrs Newell for the vacant seat on Fenland District Council caused by the death of Councillor Peter Dickinson.

Cllr Newell, chairman of Chatteris Town Council, says Cllr Howes, also a town councillor, is the main reasons she changed sides.

"I can't ever see me working with someone like that," she said. "He doesn't want to work with anyone. He wants to find fault with everyone.

"I have fought many different campaigns in my life against Conservative, Labour and Independent and, truthfully, I have never come across anyone quite like Chris Howes."

But Cllr Howes says he has tried repeatedly to work with Cllr Newell during his three-year membership of the town council.

"When I first got elected I made every effort to get on with my colleagues and to suggest improvements," he said.

"Every one of them has been rejected. All I want to do is, quite simply, work for the improvement of Chatteris."

"I have been heartened by the support I've received with many people coming up to wish me well."

The by-election, on July 13 for the Slade Lode Ward, will go ahead without a third candidate.

Although Councillor Sue Elam, vice-chairman of the town council, put in her nomination papers before Friday's deadline, she announced on Tuesday she had withdrawn.

"I've changed my mind," she said. "I'm going to let them fight it out. I only decided to stand on the spur of the moment because of some of the stuff being put out by the Liberal Democrats.

"It's not just knocking me but knocking all councillors."

Cllr Elam said she had been put under no pressure to stand down, and she was busy organising Chatteris in Bloom.

Cllr Newell said: "All I am concerned about, and have been all my life, is Chatteris. Someone questioned the fact I don't live in Chatteris now, but I am in Chatteris more times than I'm at home. I am in Chatteris sometimes four times a day."

Cllr Howes said: "I really do think Mrs Newell should learn to differentiate between herself and the town council. She is just one member of it.

"Mrs Newell is not the election issue. It is about working towards a brighter future for Chatteris.

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