Who’s after your vote at the county council?

Polling station
Polling station

Fylde and Wyre will today, Thursday 4th May, go to the polls. Here’s your handy guide.

As Lancashire prepares to go to the polls, a politics expert says the county could provide a key to the forthcoming general election.

County Hall at Preston

County Hall at Preston

Professor David Denver, Emeritus Professor of Politics at Lancaster University, said: “Lancashire as a key county will be watched carefully.”

All parties are aware the county could give a clear indication of national trends as well as the mood of the north. The local elections today will decide who runs Lancashire County Council.

With 315 candidates competing for 84 seats on a council which has swung both left and right in the past decade, it could be a close run battle.

Politics experts say that where Lancashire leads, the whole country could follow in the general election on June 8.

Professor Denver said: “Lancashire is a big authority and certainly in the past it was a kind of swing county and at the moment with no overall control, the parties are desperate to win it.”

Last week a national analysis by academics from Plymouth suggested the Conservatives needed to gain seven more seats to gain power.

Meanwhile Labour, which has ruled for the past four years with support from the Liberal Democrats, is campaigning hard to get a clear majority. The Liberal Democrats locally say they hope to continue to have influence but acknowledge they are not going to harness a majority vote. Their targets are in Preston West and South West, Burnley and Pendle. UKIP is particularly focusing energies on areas such as Chorley and Preston – it has eight candidates seeking election in the city and seven in Chorley.

The Greens are especially focused in areas such as Lancaster and Wyre.

In Fylde there is a Fylde Ratepayers’ Association candidate and three Independents. OWL (Our West Lancashire) has two candidates.

In Wyre, where the contest could be acute in certain divisions, three independents are standing.

Pockets of the county face challenges too from minority parties such as TUSC (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition Against Cuts) which is standing in three Preston divisions.

The National Front has one candidate in Rossendale and two British National Party candidates are standing in Pendle.

While parties are fighting to win a battle of hearts and minds one of their biggest challenges is overcoming voter apathy. At the last county council elections in 2013 voter turn out was 31 per cent.

Some 618,237 people eligible to vote turned their back on the polls.

Just 282,271 citizens cared enough to vote and have a say on the multi-million pound spending organisation.

Those who did vote returned 39 Labour councillors, 35 Tories, six Liberal Democrats, three independents and one Green party councillor. To achieve overall control the majority party needed 43 seats.

Professor Denver believes it is possible the looming general election could focus people’s minds and make them keener to get out and vote, even if ultra local debate is overshadowed by the general election.

“It’s certainly the case that with local elections after a general election there’s a great drop in turnout. People will not show as much interest. My impression is that it could probably stimulate a bit more interest. But the tragedy for local government and local politics is that people are very much interested by the national state of play rather than by what the council has done.”Blackpool is a unitary authority so is not involved in these elections.

See www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk for all the results as they come in from the count on Friday.

Those standing in our wards

There are nine divisions and 40 candidates in Preston, eight in South Ribble with 25 candidates, eight in Wyre with 27 candidates, eight in Chorley with 32 candidates, four in Ribble Valley with 13

candidates and six in Fylde with 28 candidates.

FYLDE CANDIDATES

Fylde East

Jayne Clare Boardman - Labour

Noel Matthews - UK Independence Party

Liz Oades - Independent

Steve Rigby - Conservative

Fylde South

Julie Ann Brickles - Independent

Robert Michael George Fielding - Liberal Democrats

Steven Michael McGuinness - Labour

Paul Rigby - Conservative

Fylde West

Guy Charles Cooper - Labour

Beverley Susan Harrison - Liberal Democrats

Paul Joseph Hayhurst - Independent

Sandra Pitman - Conservative

Brook Wimbury - UK Independence Party

Lytham

Tim Maxwell Ashton - Conservative

Joshua Kelly - Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts

Roger Henry Lloyd - Fylde Ratepayers Association

Christine Marshall - Liberal Democrats

Gareth Stuart Nash - Labour

Duncan John Royle - Green Party

Tim Wood - UK Independence Party

St Annes North

Peter Ian Buckley - Conservative

Karen Maureen Henshaw - Liberal Democrats

Peter James Stephenson - Labour

Christine Tootill - Green Party

St Annes South

Andrew Peter Holland - Liberal Democrats

Ruth Hurley - Labour

Edward John Nash - Conservative

Ian Stanley Roberts - Green Party

WYRE candidates

Cleveleys East

Rob Fail - Labour

Andrea Dawn Kay - Conservative

Cleveleys South & Carleton

Joanne Cooper - Labour

Barbara Ann Mead-Mason - Green Party

Alan Thomas Vincent - Conservative

Fleetwood East

Lorraine Beavers - Labour

Michael John Pickton - Green Party

David Charles Shaw - Conservative

Ray Smith - Independent

Fleetwood West & Cleveleys West

Lynn Cawley - Green Party

Stephen Thomas Clarke - Conservative

Ruth Duffy - Labour

Jack Harrison - Independent

Roy Graham Hopwood - UK

Independence Party

Poulton

Alf Clempson - Conservative

Roddy Hanson - Green Party

Michelle Heaton-Bentley - Labour

Thornton & Hambleton

Andy Meredith - Labour

John Samuel Clarke Shedwick - Conservative

Wyre Rural Central

Ruth Norbury - Green Party

Vivien Margaret Taylor - Conservative

Janet Williams - Labour

Wyre Rural East

Joe Gilmour - Green Party

Simon Noble - UK Independence Party

Sandra Denise Perkins - Independent

Ross George Thomas Sykes - Labour

Shaun Gerard Turner - Conservative