Exciting times in Burgess Hill for there is to be a By-Election for the 'Meeds North' Ward on Thursday 10th May 2012 - this is because sitting councillor Neil Lawrence had to resign due to a work relocation.
Meeds North was a new Ward introduced for the first time in 2011.
Due to an administrative cock-up last May, residents had to vote at a later date to decide their councillor with the Conservative candidate Neil Lawrence defeating the Lib Dem's Lesley Cartwright by 179 votes to 138.
Only 20.1% of the 1532 eligible people turned out to vote, this may have been because they couldn't be bothered to walk to the polling station twice in quick succession, however if there is a similarly low turn out next month then it could be a right old scrap with every vote being vital.
Last week the candidates were announced, rather surprisingly, there are 7 of them vying for a seat on the council where they will get to sit alongside the likes of Publicity Pru Moore and Ansty's Emily White.
The seven are....
Conservative Party - Dan Airs
Green Party Anne Eves
Independent - John Bray (Author:A Persistent Campaigner Against Injustice)
Independent - Tom O’Hara
Labour Party - Janet Smith
Liberal Democrat - Kathleen Willis
UK Independence Party - Chris French
A few early observations.
Dan Airs was a LIB DEM candidate fighting for a seat in the Victoria Ward last year, he lost. Is this a case of 'If you can't beat them, join them'? Is he really a genuine supporter of the Conservatives or just a realist that knows the voters choose the party and not the person?
Kathy Willis was a defeated Lib Dem Candidate in the Victoria Ward in 2011. Will the Lib Dem's even worse reputation hinder her?
John Bray lives in Haywards Heath! It could end up being another Emily White saga, although his byline of 'A Persistent Campaigner Against Injustice' seems there could be an interesting reason for his nomination.
Not much is known about Anne Eves, Janet Smith and Tom O'Hara so no comment can be given although O'Hara has served as a councillor before (not sure for which party)
Finally we come to UKIP's Chris French, what's so notable about him? He's the only candidate living in the Meeds North Ward! AND he has a Twitter account @chris_french although that must be some sort of a mistake. Traditionally, elected councillors disappear off the face of the earth. Having a Twitter account is just plain wrong and that will have to go if Mr French is elected!
Who Will Win?
With so many minor candidates, the voters disillusioned with the Conservatives and the Lib Dems will find their votes split between the other 5, meaning that a Conservative victory is most likely, especially considering the previous sitting councillor was a member of the Conservatives. However, if either Bray, Eves, French, O'Hara or Smith put together a stonking campaign, there could be chance for an upset.
We'll be analysing the candidate's election literature
(more like tearing it to shreds!)
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