Tories, UKIP, Lib Dems, Labour and an Independent in line up for Fenland District Council by election

Alan Lay

Alan Lay - Credit: Archant

Five candidates will be fighting for recognition when there is a by-election for the Roman Bank seat next month.

Stephen Court

Stephen Court - Credit: Archant

Conservative councillor Philip Hatton resigned leaving the seat up for grabs in the voting on Thursday May 8.

Erbie Murat

Erbie Murat - Credit: Archant

Mr Hatton was sacked as chairman of Fenland Council planning committee in the aftermath of ‘supermarketgate’ last year and quit the council a year ahead of next year’s elections.

Samantha Clark

Samantha Clark - Credit: Archant

He said he stood down to concentrate on his booming health care business and to devote more time to his boat.

Barry Diggle

Barry Diggle - Credit: Archant

“We have a lovely boat and last year I only managed to use it three or four times,” he said. “This year I intend to use it a lot more.”

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However his decision to force a by election was prompted from his exclusion at a ward meeting to select a candidate came, ironically, during a selection meeting for the ward he has held for the Tories in Wisbech for 10 years.

“What really annoyed me was the selection process last Tuesday, something that is happening in every ward,” he said. “Chris Seaton and Michael Humphrey were also up for re-adoption for two of the three seats and asked me along.

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“However it seems that despite being the ward councillor I live just over the boundary and was banned from attending and therefore not entitled to vote. I told them to stick it.”


Samantha Clark: Conservative

Ms Clark represents the Tory party and is a parish councillor in Newton where she has lived all her life.

She said: “I am the sort of person who believes in getting things done. I am regularly involved in community activities including Street Pride, the village hall committees, and local groups and fund raising activities.

“I’m a traditional, grass roots Conservative lady who believes in community spirit, good manners and hard work. I believe that our communities make us stronger and that is something worth building upon.”

As a professional in the care industry she says she has an understanding of the needs of the vulnerable, particularly people in care and the elderly.

“I am an energetic person, ready to challenge where necessary and identify problems within a community when they arise,” she said.

“If you elect me, I’ll make sure to represent your views strongly at Fenland District Council. I hope to be a voice of good old-fashioned common sense,” she said.

Erbie Murat: Independent

Erbie Murat says he recognises that political parties of every flavour are battling it out for the 5,500 votes in Tydd St Giles; Newton; Gorefield; Leverington and the massive rural spaces in between - but what’s it all about?” he says. “Do you really want more of the same platitudes and vague national promises, in a local election - or do you want someone who is ready, able and willing to take the politicians on?”

“I am an independent candidate, wearing a bottle green and silver rosette so that he is not confused with the political parties. I will make a difference because I have had over three decades of experience in local government, twelve of which were at city council level in Peterborough, where I served, amongst other things, as the chair of resources committee, responsible for all of the property, finance and personnel for the city of Peterborough.”

He says “I have lived in this area for over 15 years and I really do believe in making our community an excellent place to live. Through my work with the Citizens Advice Bureau, and other projects, as well as my work with Wisbech Town Council, I have made a difference.”

Stephen Court: Liberal Democrats

Mr Court says: “I have lived in Fenland since 1973 and have been a member of the Liberal Democrats for 20 years.

“I am presently a councillor on March Town council where I represent the people of March north. I would welcome the opportunity to further represent people in the area and have therefore put my name forward for the district council by election.

“If elected would hold a surgery and put out a regular newsletter so as to keep in touch with people on the ward.

He says he was first inspired to stand for election when Lib Dems resolved the debacle of the attempts to build upon public open space in Cavalry Drive, March, and is keen to make sure that such mistakes cannot be repeated.

He works as a technician in the engineering department at Huntingdon Regional College.

Alan Lay: UKIP

Mr Lay, 76, is a Cambridgeshire county councillor for Leverington, Gorefield, Peckover and Roman Bank and describes himself as being: “Logical, knowledgeable and have spent long time learning about life.

“I am here to help with any problems that you have.”

After winning a county council seat he told local people to: “If you see me around, please stop and say hello, I am at your service.”

For years Mr Lay was the ‘nearly man’ of local politics - his UKIP rosette always on hand for the odd by election- and five weeks earlier had come third in a by election

He won his county seat by beating sitting councillor Steve Tierney by 11 votes.

“We get a lot of mud thrown at us but we are all really nice,” he said of his fellow UKIP supporters and friends. “I am afraid there are some of other parties who are a bit toffee nosed but not us.”

Barry Diggle. Labour

A former mayor of Wisbech, Mr Diggle has lived in the areas 30 years.

He is aware of local concerns and is a committee member of the community including being an active Wisbech Lions Club member and a Justice of the Peace.

Mr Diggle has more than 16 years experience as a councillor on Fenland District and Wisbech Town Councils, including serving as the chairman of Fenland District Council and as Wisbech Town Mayor.

He says “I want to put people before politics and I hope that my experiences serving the community show my willingness to help local people’s needs.

“There are several issues that local residents are concerned with, including the congestion on, and dangerous nature of, the A1101.Some would like to see a link road from the A1101 to the A47 this would alleviate a lot of heavy traffic from our side of the town.

Huntingdon has just started a new link road to lessen their traffic problems, so if it’s good enough for that end of the county it should be good enough for us here in the north.

“There is also the issue of the lack of regular bus services to the outlying villages which need to be addressed.”

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