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Runners and Riders 2019

Runners and Riders 2019We're looking at the runners and riders for the Fylde Borough election due on 2nd May .

Some candidates are known to us; quite a few are not. That usually (though not always) means they are first-timers or, in some cases, they might be what are called 'paper candidates' - people who are making weight for their party, but perhaps not putting in the same sort of effort as the more committed and serious candidates.

We know from the comments received that many of our readers enjoy our personal insights into the candidates. We equally know they sometimes irritate or upset the people about whom we comment.

So we ask our readers (and the candidates themselves) to bear in mind that the comments on the runners and riders that follow are just our own personal view - just one of 60,000 views in Fylde.

They're not right or wrong, they're just a personal view based mostly on our experience of seeing them in action or what we have learned about them.

SYNOPSIS
The article first looks at an Election Overview to address the broader forces that we think will impact on the election. Then we look specifically at the Fylde Election, and make a personal comment on some of those who stood in the last election but are No Longer Standing in Fylde, followed by some Statistical Information about overall numbers of candidates and seats.

.Then comes the main section with our personal comment on candidates'' previous electoral form and - where we have been able to do so - our own 'pen portraits' of what we know of them. These are arranged alphabetically by, and within each ward: Ansdell, Ashton, Central, Clifton, Elswick & Little Eccleston, Fairhaven, Freckleton (E). Freckleton (W), Heyhouses, Kilnhouse, Kirkham (N), Kirkham (S), Medlar w Wesham, Newton & Treales, Park, Ribby w Wrea, Singleton & Greenhalgh, St Johns, St Leonard's, Staining & Weeton, Warton & Westby.

 ELECTION OVERVIEW

It's going to be an interesting election this time, not least because of the public anger regarding our Parliament's abysmal failure - and in some cases unwillingness - to deliver the result of the Public Referendum for the UK to properly leave the EU.

BREXIT
That anger has been exacerbated by promises made in both Labour and Conservative Party Manifestos at the last national election, and to what the Conservative Government promised in Theresa May's 'Lancaster House Speech' setting out the Government's framework and plan to deliver Brexit according to the expressed will of the British people.

As each day passes, the electorate has been moved closer to being denied the decision the majority took, and which Parliament had committed to implement.

Amongst those electors who voted to leave, there is already considerable anger - especially with the Conservatives nationally.

It's unclear how (or even whether) this anger will play out in the local elections. It's not impossible that electors might take the opportunity to give those who have failed them 'a kicking' by voting tactically against them in this local election to 'send them a message', or by simply staying at home on the day of the election and not voting at all.

It's also being widely reported that Prime Minster Theresa May's preference for a Con/Lab pact to deliver a 'soft Brexit' - rather than keep to her promised  Conservative mantra that 'No deal is better than a bad deal - has angered many Conservative grassroots party members and activists who are said to be reluctant to provide funds or to turn out to canvas or leaflet for the Conservatives in this local election.

That's not usually so much of a problem in Fylde, but neither is Fylde immune from reductions in support either. See Update 13 April.

This possibility is clearly a worry in the mind of Fylde Conservative Association who have sent a letter to their members and supporters which opens with:

"This election is vital as it will coincide with ongoing Brexit negotiations.

It is crucial that you support your local Conservative candidates and press friends and neighbours to go out and vote Conservative..."

ENVIRONMENT
The growing importance of environmental issues is also starting to come into play in elections as more and more of the people who, as children - who were led along this path at school - come of age. The outcome of this has been the creation of a generation for whom environmental socialism is a Holy Grail.

As those environmental acolytes become adults - as has been happening for for several years now - this is now having an electoral effect as the growing band begin a fundamental shift toward a green and more socialist future. This perception can only increase over the short to medium term, and become even more important.

FAMILY TIES
Another trend we have spotted this year, chiefly - though not exclusively - amongst the Conservative candidates is that there seems to be a lot of family relatives standing. We note several instances of what appear to be husband and wife teams sharing the same home address but standing in different electoral wards. And in one instance, what appear to be four related family members, each connected to work at Lytham Hall are standing as Conservative candidates in different Fylde wards, and a fifth Lytham Hall Tea Room employee is also standing as a Conservative candidate in Lytham St John's ward according one of our readers. Maybe it's something in the water. [This paragraph updated 15 April].

INSURGENCY
Fylde has another and very particular anomaly as well.

Several existing or former Conservative councillors have been not selected, or have been actively de-selected as Conservatives (in what has been suggested to us is a move to change the 'nature' or character of the local Conservative Party - by picking some particular candidates to stand for them).

We referred to this in our last article 'Pre-Election Gossip' where we noted the emergence of a 'Momentum-like' change-agent group that pivots around a nucleus of Councillors like Shirley Green and Chris Dixon (who both work for our MP). This faction of the Conservative group generally represent a more youthful perspective than the 'old stagers' who have ruled the roost at Fylde for the last 20 years or so.   See Update 15 April

There a lot of Conservatives standing in Fylde for the first time this year. It's not clear to us how many of them are associated with the 'more youthful insurgency' but we can definitely see some that are, and we suspect even more will be.

This tends to support the gossip we heard that this 'insurgent' powerbase - instigated via the Conservative's candidate selection process this year - has intentionally deselected several sitting councillors in order to create space for more youthful new ones, and the insurgents are now poised to take control of the local Conservative group after this May's election.

What we can't tell is whether the electorate will vote for the 'unknowns' (simply on party loyalty) instead of the names and faces that are more familiar to them. Nor is it easy to be clear about what the electoral effect might be of several familiar former Conservatives now standing as Independent Candidates (against the 'unknown' new Conservatives).

If the insurgency works, Fylde is set to be a VERY different Council from May onward.

If not, then in common with a national trend, it might shift the balance away from 'party' candidates and more toward those standing as Independent councillors.

Labour is fielding quite a lot of new faces as well, so we think there are grounds to believe that change could be on the way for Fylde Council - one way or another - after this election.

  THE FYLDE BOROUGH ELECTION 

 Not Standing Since the Last Borough Election in 2015

Quite a lot of former councillors have been lost to Fylde since the last 2015 Borough Election, and we highlight a few of our more memorable names who are not standing in 2019. (In no particular order).

Louis Rigby
We think he's the greatest loss to Fylde Council. Cllr, (now Alderman)  Louis Rigby of Freckleton (who is also counterbalance's own 'St. Louis the Magnificent.') has retired. We gave more details in our last article 'Pre-Election Gossip''', but as an Independent councillor, he bravely stood alone to prevent the Conservative majority on the Board of Directors of Melton Grove sellng this social housing site. He was removed from the Board using Commercial Law when he refused to vote for the sale.

Richard Taylor
Conservative from Warton. Having seen him in action at Warton Parish Council we greatly looked forward to his influence at Fylde. His chairing style was simply magnificent and we were extremely sorry he lasted such a short time at Fylde before his work took him overseas. Alongside former Councillor Charlie Duffy from Lytham, we regard him as one of the greatest losses Fylde council has had in recent times.

David Eaves (Deceased)
A Conservative who took over the financial disaster that the former Commissar had left us with and, together with his an excellent choice of officers and ebentually Portfolio holders for Finance saw Fylde recover its financial stability. He came with so much promise, but we always felt that he quickly became a prisoner of the political fundamentalists in his own party. Nevertheless, we regarded him as a most decent person.

Tony Ford
We're also very sad to see Cllr Tony Ford retiring this year. Avuncular and well known, he is a significant loss to Ashton Ward residents because of his very much hands-on, get-things-done approach.

 Maxine Chew
From Singleton. A well loved and highly regarded independent. One of few Fylde councillors to grasp the chicanery deployed by officialdom in the Great Bathing Water Con. She also had a deep regard for buildings of historic value

Keith Beckett
Of Kirkham is also standing down, but sadly due to ill health. Widely and well regarded in his local community, he too has been voted in as an Honorary Alderman.

 David Chedd
Thoughtful and perceptive he found his feet to became a rising star within the ranks of the Independent councillors. It was a sad loss when he very narrowly lost out in 2015.

 Howard Henshaw
Well known (if a little distant or austere in style) Liberal democrat (and ex international banker) whose understanding of finance was, occasionally, inspired.

Richard Fradley
Younger Lytham Councillor who most notably took on the 'mission impossible' role of normalising the dreadful and unforgivable breakdown of relationships between the Heritage Trust for the North West, Lytham Town Trust and the Council regarding Lytham Hall. He made what we thought was a good fist of it only to be (apparently) rewarded by not being selected again - either that or he had had enough.

Christine Akeroyd (Deceased)
A warm hearted Conservative Councillor who had a deep interest in people and was easily able to humanise decisions she was asked to take.

Barbara Nash (Deceased)
Popular and well respected Conservative 'people person' who was universally liked and respected by all who knew her.

Jan Barker
A Labour Party councillor in Central Ward who sought to do right by her residents, and properly expected to be taken seriously and to have her contribution valued in debates - only to find the Conservative steamroller squash the life-breath out of her.

Michael Gilbert
Warton Parish - and one time Fylde Borough - Councillor with an encyclopaedic knowledge of local government (and especially Parish Council) law and procedure. Possessed of a commanding manner that irritated some. A cross between MPs Bill Cash and Jacob Reece-Mogg (although he was probably closer to Bill Cash.) We will miss him greatly.

Michael Cornah
Old-style and loyal Conservative who spoke truth as he saw it.

Brenda Ackers
Conservative who was publicly criticised for her part in the Melton Grove debacle. Solid party-political type who we are told has exerted significant influence behind the scenes in the Conservative candidate selection process within which the 'youthful insurgency' seems to have arisen.

David Donaldson
Fairhaven Conservative whose strong accent we found difficult to follow on occasions. Rarely spoke in Council and evidently had had enough or was not selected to stand for the Conservatives this time.

Albert Pounder
Blustering and outspoken disgraced Staining councillor prosecuted for benefit fraud.

Tim Ashton
Not one of our favourites (a feeling he reciprocates with vigour), His arrogant and overtly party-political style was not well suited to being a councillor where consensus (which he abhors) ought to be the order of the day wherever possible. He will not be forgiven by us and other Fylde's taxpayers for the £700,000 financial loss his Streetscene department reported, nor for the arrogance with which he dismissed this debacle saying "....at the end of the day nobody died". He will equally not be forgiven for the extremely Dim idea that saw him spend in the order of £9 million of taxpayers money on ridiculous and unenforceable 20 MPH signs all across Lancashire. Unbelievably to us, he too has been made an Alderman.

We apologise to anyone we have missed off this list which simply comprises the particular and personal memories we will carry forward.


 Overall Statistics

This time we see an exceptional 109 candidates contesting 51 Fylde Council seats in 21 Wards.

We make it

  • 51 Conservative candidates
  • 25 Labour candidates
  • 22 Independents   (including those of no specified allegiance)
  • 5 Greens
  • 3 Liberal Democrats
  • 3 Lytham St Annes Independents

No ward is uncontested, and who gets elected is down to the 61,000 or so Fylde voters.

And so, to the runners and riders. In ward and alphabetical order, they are....

 ANSDELL WARD -  3 seats available 

 AITKEN, Ben  (Conservative)

1,379 votes last time which topped the poll in Ansdell. Chairman of Fylde's Environment Health and Housing Committee. Sits toward the right of the political spectrum. His chairing style is a hangover from the days of the Cabinet. We tend to think of it as being quite 'Presidential' and akin to that of  Donald Trump. Almost certain to be elected.

 DENNETT Bob (Labour)

Stood against Mark Menzies as MP in 2015 and took 1,381 votes. Committed anti-fracking chap who has opposed the shale gas proposals almost since their inception. He is a softly spoken but firm minded individual who operates from conviction and belief. Has previously stood for the Green Party.

 DIXON, Chris (Conservative)

Entered Fylde at a by-election following David Eaves' death. He's close to the insurgency for change amongst the younger end of the Conservative group and works for Mark Menzies MP. We've not seen him speak much in Committee as yet, but he is a familiar name locally and will probably do well.

 REDCLIFFE, Richard Verran  (Conservative)

Elected  last time with second highest vote (1,337). Is a very able orator, and can argue from whatever point of view he wishes to use. Party man to the core and reliable safe pair of hands. We sometimes think he struggles to leave his former role of school headmaster behind when speaking in Council and Committees, but we'll be surprised if he doesn't get elected again.

 ASHTON WARD - FBC 3 seats available 

 ARMIT, Tim  (Independent)

Ward resident and one-time Conservative councillor not offered the seat he wanted to contest this year. So now standing as an Independent candidate. Previously displayed one of the more youthful outlooks on FBC. Energetic and quick thinking - often from an unexpected angle - he gives us the impression he's driven by the need for change rather than a deep political conviction. He's strong on the (Obama) 'hope and change' mantra to create an improved future, and his literature has some 'big-picture' revolutionary changes in mind. Also seems to be strongly driven by business and commercial logic. [Updated 16 April].

 BLACK, Bobby (Green Party)

First time standing as far as we can tell. Not known to us, but we're told she is retired and a committed anti-fracking person with a sensible 'matter of fact' approach to life.

 DERIZZIO, Ann Maria  (Labour)

First time standing as far as we know. This lady is known to us. She led the very effective campaign to change Fylde's mind about dog controls to something more sensible. She's an able speaker and confident. We suspect she could do better than Labour often does in St Annes because of her quite high personal profile, proven ability, and her pro-dog credentials.

 GOODMAN, Gail (Independent)

Formerly a Conservative, she narrowly topped the Ashton Ward poll with 948 votes in 2015. This time she is standing as an Independent and will probably lose some 'party' votes because of that. But she's a reliable hard working councillor who cares about people and has the interests of her electorate close to her heart. We wish her well.

 HARRIS, Will (Conservative)

This is his first time as an election candidate. He's a former member of the St Annes on the Sea Town Council's 'Youth Council' and has a keen interest in politics. We know him to be an honest and decent young man.

 HARRISON, Beverley Susan  (Liberal Democrat)

Bright, sharp-minded lady who was an enthusiastic and energetic Fylde Councillor a few years back, now looking to return to civic life (we suspect after raising her family and having retired from her educational work as Assistant Head of  a large school). School governor and active in the local community. We know from experience she will be capable.

 HARRISON, Gavin William  (Conservative)

Not related to Beverley (above) as far as we know - and there is a significant prospect of voter confusion that could arise when candidates of the same  surname stand together. He's another first timer as far as we can tell. Sadly not known to us, so no form to report.

  NEALE, Graeme  (Conservative)

Somewhat enigmatic member of  both Fylde Borough and St Annes Town Councils. Came second to Gail Goodman (with 947 votes) last time. We attend most of the FBC meetings and have yet to hear him say anything in Committee or Council. Like we said, enigmatic.

 CENTRAL WARD FBC 3 seats available 

 CRIDLAND, Ken (Labour)

We don't recall seeing him standing for election in Fylde before but we believe he taught at the LSA High School and was actively involved in a one of the teaching Trade Unions.

 DE RIZZIO-GEORGE, Justin Jordan  (Labour)

Probable first timer and sadly not known to us. We suspect the name connects to Ann Derizzio (who we do know) standing in Ashton Ward.

 FAZACKERLEY, Susan Mary (Conservative)

Topped the poll in the ward last time with 749 votes. Currently Leader of Fylde Council. Returned to office many times We've known her since she was first elected a generation ago, and always thought she was a Councillor worth listening to. But in recent years we have been less impressed - as, indeed, we know she has been with our take on things. Probably likely to be re-elected but  we wonder if she will remain Leader of the Conservative Group.

 HODGSON, Georgina Ann  (Labour)

Labour seem to be pushing hard in this ward - probably because Cllr (and Deputy Mayor) Jan Barker is not standing again this year and they want to retain her seat on Fylde. We don't know this candidate personally, and we're never sure about the wisdom of fielding three candidates for three seats. UKIP stood three candidates here last time,  probably taking most of their votes from the Conservatives. It's quite possible that situation helped Labour to get Cllr Barker elected. But there's no UKIP this time, and three Labour candidates for three seats could actually split the vote and keep them out. That said, the Conservatives are doing exactly the same thing....

 NASH, Edward (Conservative)

Came second highest in the Ward last time with 700 votes. He courts a high public profile -which always helps in elections - and has a finger in several pies. Dubbed 'The Brigadier' in counterbalance because of his services background and military manner. Forthright and outspoken with strong opinions. We think he has a good chance of being elected.

 SMITH, Shae Thomas Roy  (Green)

As far as we know, this is a first-timer in a Fylde election, and sadly he is not known to us so we don't have any previous form.

 TRUDGILL, Stan  (Conservative)

A member of the St Annes Town Council (and its Planning Committee), where he has gained a reputation for being considerate, through, and knowing the area. But as far as we can tell, this is his first time standing for the Borough Council.

 CLIFTON WARD FBC 3 seats available 

 ANTHONY, Peter (Conservative)

Elected in a 2015 By-election where he stormed to win with five times the number of voted of his nearest rival. That must put him in with a good chance of re-election. He has a high public profile not least because of his role managing Lytham Hall and we think that will almost certainly cement him into place. He speaks only rarely in council and committee at Fylde, so his civic form is difficult to pin down. We believe he is one of those who is also close to the insurgency of younger members of Fylde's Conservative group.

 BLACKSHAW, Brenda  (Independent)

Former Conservative who was not re-selected for Fairhaven (which she won with 1,016 votes last time). So she has left the Conservatives and is standing in Clifton Ward as an Independent. She has a high public profile locally, (which will no doubt stand her in good stead), and it will be interesting to see whether she can pull something off in her new role.

 LOVE, Bev  (Lytham St Annes Independents)

Standing for the recently-renamed 'Lytham St Annes Independents' (former Fylde Ratepayers Party),  she is a first timer in an election. Her literature style self-evidently speaks to a younger outlook than what we understand the demographic profile of Clifton Ward to be, but it IS fresh and vibrant. She's a local lady, not afraid to speak her mind, and is strong on environmental issues. She stresses her independence and says she has a plan to deliver a number of services on a not-for-profit basis for all. If she is elected we suspect we will all feel a breath of very fresh air.

 NASH, Gareth Stuart   (Labour)

Stood for labour in the Ansdell By-Election in 2018, taking 282 votes to Chris Dixon's 715. Now trying again here in Clifton Ward. We don't know much of his previous form but his literature impressed us in 2018. He worked as part of a small cooperative business involved with saving local services, like shops and pubs, from closure.

 RIGBY, Steve (Conservative)

Stood for the Conservatives in the Lancashire County Council election in 2017 and came second with half the votes of sitting Cllr Liz Oades (but more than any of the other candidates in that Ward). We know this chap from 'another life' He is able and has significant experience of how councils operate from the inside.

 THOMAS, Ray  (Conservative)

Won his seat with 1,087 votes last time. He's another chap who has only spoken infrequently in Committees and Council meetings we have attended, so it's difficult for us to provide a view on his form. He seems to be loyal to the party and, like Cllr Redcliffe a steady pair of hands.

 ELSWICK WITH LITTLE ECCLESTON WARD FBC 1 seat available 

 HAYHURST, Paul Joseph 

Pretty much possessed of a cast-iron case to win. Took almost three times as many votes as his nearest rival last time. Has represented the area since time immemorial it seems. Curiously, he has not declared any 'allegiance' in this election but we know him to be fiercely Independent. He is also welded into the fabric of his community and hugely respected by them as he fights like a tiger for their interests. Elected a County Councillor in the last County elections. He's one of the best orators on Fylde Council and has a first class brain with the best eye for a headline quote and a terrific grasp of figures. It's no contest as far as we can see - though we know he won't take the people of his ward for granted.

 HOLDER , Cathy (Labour)

Not known to us, and we think she may be a Fylde first-timer. Will almost certainly struggle against Cllr Hayhurst.

 ROWE, John (Conservative)

A local man with a local business. Quite well known in the area, and a former member of Elswick Parish Council. We think he will do better than the Conservative candidate did last time, but we doubt he will be able to win.

 FAIRHAVEN WARD FBC 3 seats available 

 FIELDING, Patricia Anne  (Green)

We think we know  this lady as a former Liberal Democrat now standing for the Green Party. She active locally, and pretty much clued up in the  political scene. Has stood several times before in Fylde, but never quite made it. Solid, able, and reliable worker and not afraid to stand her ground.

 GAUNT, Ellie (Conservative)

Sadly, this lady is not known to us. Almost certainly a first-timer for Fylde elections

 HODGSON, Alan James  (Labour)

Also not known to us, so we have no previous form we can report. Probably another first-timer for Fylde elections.

 LITTLE, Cheryl Doreen (Conservative)

Topped the Ward poll with 1,345 votes last time, having increased her vote significantly from the 745 votes she polled at the previous election. She's a free-thinking character with a huge heart and great interest in people. She is exceptionally well known and very popular, so it's difficult to imagine her not being elected again. We found her procedural knowledge and ability less impressive when chairing the Tourism and Leisure Committee meetings, but it will be a big surprise if she does not do well in the election on the strength of her personality alone.

 MORRIS, Michelle (Conservative)

This lady is not known to us although we think we might have been in her company recently. We have been told she is a former Mayor of Bury (East Lancashire), but has a Fairhaven address so lives in the Ward.  According to her Twitter feed she is Board member of Grand Theatre Trust, and we wonder if this is the lady we were told had been selected over former Cllr Brenda Blackshaw by the Conservatives.

 FRECKLETON EAST WARD FBC 2 seats available 

 ASHRAF, Sohaib (Conservative)

Not known to us, so we suspect he has not stood for election in Fylde before so we have no form to report.

 MCGOWAN, Meriel Eileen  (Labour)

This lady is not known to us and we suspect that means she is standing for the first time in Fylde.

 MULHOLLAND, James Kiran  (Independent)

Second highest vote in the ward last time. Independent (although Capital C Conservative in many of his views). Well established councillor with firm convictions and a quiet and moderate style. Has an excellent brain and is a strategic thinker, well able to handle concepts and policy. He is also a first class advocate for the causes he represents. We don't always agree, but we have huge respect for his ability, and we imagine the people of Freckleton will share this. We'd be surprised if he was not re-elected.

 ROYLE, Duncan John  (Green)

Not known to us personally, but we're told he is a quiet, thoughtful chap, and is the current Chairman of the local Green Party. it's blurb says he is an environmental consultant in Fylde, and previously worked in a financial role at BAE Systems. Was the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, standing against Paul Maynard and three others in the 2017 snap election where the Greens got the lowest vote of the five. He might do better here because of his anti-fracking credentials.

 THRELFALL, Thomas  (Conservative)

Topped the Ward poll with 711 votes last time, he is widely known in Freckleton, and that will almost certainly see him re-elected. He has a particular interest in the Environment. Speaks chiefly on Committee matters that are of particular interest to him, but less on more general items. Standing as a Conservative this time but has previously courted controversy by standing as an Independent, only to join the Conservatives after being elected.

 FRECKLETON WEST WARD FBC 2 seats available 

 FIDDLER, Dr Trevor (Conservative)

Topped the Ward Poll last time with 764 votes. A great strategist and an experienced Councillor. Formidable - but not always popular or consensual - especially on planning matters, and a good orator who uses mental ju-jitsu to unsettle opponents. Sits toward the right, perhaps the far right, of his party. On Policy matters he is sometimes brutally honest. Mixing our metaphors, we think of him as a 'Marmite Councillor'  - When he is good, he is very very good, but when he is bad, he is horrid.  

 GALE, Drew (Labour)

We don't know this candidate personally, but there is a chap of the same name who (according to their website) is currently a Labour councillor on Preston City Council. If they are one and the same (and both are said to live in Warton), then last September he signalled an intention to stand down at Preston, telling 'blogpreston' it was mainly because of work life balance. However he did say he eventually wanted to return to politics in a parliamentary election or maybe a County Council election. So this might mark the start of his political comeback.

 GRIFFITHS, Noreen  (Independent)

We know this lady. She has been a member of Freckleton Parish Council since the last elections, and chairs their Communications Committee. She also represents the  Parish Council on the Rawstorne Sports Centre Management Committee. We know her to have a tenacity and thoroughness the like of which is rarely seen today. She is a committed anti-fracking campaigner, and has a strong natural sense of right and wrong - not unlike former Cllr Louis Rigby whose shoes she might hope to fill.

 MORLEY, Carole (Conservative)

Sadly this lady is not known to us, and we have no information on any 'previous form'

 HEYHOUSES WARD FBC 3 seats available 

 GOODWIN, Lynn  (Labour)

Stood in Heyhouses at the last full election where she was fourth of five, with a decent (but not winning) 843 votes. She came second (but did less well numerically) in the 2018 Heyhouses by-election with just 202 votes (but remember this was a by-election and turnout was lower). Works for a major supermarket chain, is a member of USDAW and is the H&S representative at work. We suspect this time she will be looking to significantly dent or even overturn the Conservative majority

 HOLLAND, Andrew Peter (Liberal Democrat)

Mr Holland is a project manager for a large local engineering company. He stood unsuccessfully in a St Annes Town Council by-election in 2016. He stood for the Lancashire County Council elections in St Annes South in 2017 taking 494 votes - beating the Green candidate by 89, but trailing 200 or so votes behind Labour,  and the Conservative - who polled 2,000 votes

in the 2018 Heyhouses by-election he came third of four with 138 votes. This was180 votes behind Labour's Lynn Goodwin who's contesting this seat again so the omens are not good for him. The Lib Dems are still not out of the doldrums nationally, so we don't expect any surprises.

 NASH, Sally  (Conservative)

Stormed into her current place on Fylde Council with 655 votes following the tragic death of her mother (who was a widely respected Fylde Councillor in Heyhouses). To date, we don't think we've seen her speak at all in any of Fylde's Committees. She might be a really nice / able person, but we honestly don't see any evidence at Fylde of the gravitas or ability needed to represent others. The Conservative epithet might still be enough to get her in, but we also think she might be more vulnerable to unseating this time.

 SETTLE, Vince (Conservative)

Earned his spurs in St Annes Town Council before standing here last time and securing the third of the three seats (with 1,063 votes). A steady pair of hands and more moderate in his views than many, we think he is likely to build on his previous success.

 WILLDER, Viv (Conservative)

Topped the poll in Heyhouses last time with 1,227 votes. She's well connected locally and associated with community and housing organisations which will bolster her popularity. Like Cllr Cheryl Little, she is likely to win on personality.

 KILNHOUSE WARD FBC 3 seats available 

 DUCKWORTH, Roger Anthony   (Labour)

Not known to us so we suspect he might be standing for the first time in Fylde, and we have no form to report.

 HENSHAW, Karen Maureen  (Liberal Democrat)

Elected as the third of seven candidates in a very close 2015 election (where all three elected candidates were separated by only 64 votes). Popular, well known and well connected former Magistrate and JP who is a pillar of the community, so she must be toward the front of the pack. Has the sort of personality that is less likely to be dented by the downtrend from the Lib Dems nationally and should do well.

 MARSHALL, Oscar Michael  (Labour)

First time in a Fylde election but he is known to us. A considerate and caring young man with warm and empathetic manner. Strikes us as being very much in the mould of former Cllr Akeroyd, clearly a 'people person' We think he will sit toward the 'green' end of the Labour spectrum.

 O’ROURKE, David  (Conservative)

This is likely to be the first time he has stood for an election, even though he is a member of St. Annes on the Sea Town Council - (existing Town Councillors co-opted him to fill a vacancy last July). He operates a property consultancy company in St Annes and is the partner of Cllr Shirley Green (who works for Mark Menzies  MP). Expresses an interest in regenerating St Annes Town centre and creating affordable housing. Said by some to be culturally to the far left of centre, especially for a Conservative.

 SMALL, Roger  (Conservative)

Has a long and mixed history with Fylde. Was deputy to the ill-fated former Commissar (who closed the swimming pools). Disappeared from public life for a while, but returned in 2015. He gives the impression of easy-going reasonableness personified, but in our experience he relies too much on advice from officers and rarely masters the detail of issues. There's a possibility that, if elected, he might replace Susan Fazackerley as Leader of the Conservative Group on the Council.

 WATSON, Elizabeth (Conservative)

We don't know this lady and don't think she has stood for Council before. Her literature says she is the daughter of a manager of the former Lytham Conservative Club in Hastings Place. (We think that might be Cllr Peter Anthony). She now lives in Lytham with her partner Callum and she has connections to the Young Conservatives, so we wonder if she might have been selected as another candidate in support of the 'youth insurgency.' that seems to be gaining ground at Fylde. She says she is currently Head Chef at Lytham Hall and lives with her partner Callum. 

Interestingly, we noted that Lytham Hall's General Manager Cllr Peter Anthony is standing in Clifton ward. The Hall's Deputy Manager Paul Lomax is standing in Newton and Treales ward. Lytham Hall's Head Chef Elizabeth Watson is standing here in Kilnhouse ward, and Callum Jepson is standing in Medlar with Wesham ward, all as Conservatives, and all giving their home address as being the same house number on Preston Road, Lytham. So it looks to be quite a family affair for them. We've not seen anything quite like this before, and we can only think that either their family ties, or their work at Lytham Hall, must engender a very strong sense of civic duty.

 KIRKHAM NORTH FBC 3 seats available 

 BREARLEY, Paula Jayne  (Independent)

First time standing for the Borough Council She joined Kirkham Town Council this year, otherwise no previous form that is known to us.

 FOWLER, Susan Lily  (Conservative)

First time standing as far as we can tell. Not known to us, but she shares a home address with someone called Ian Fowler who is also standing for the Conservatives - in Warton and Westby Ward.

 HALLIDAY, Verity Anne  (Labour)

First time standing as far as we can tell. Not known to us.

 HODGSON, Paul Anthony  (Independent)

Was elected to Fylde Borough in 2011 and re-elected with 735 votes in 2015, (almost double his nearest rival) polling. Strong business / commercial outlook. We think he will be re-elected.

 JONES, Stuart Robert Andrew  (Conservative)

Lives locally. Stood for Medlar with Wesham Ward of the Borough Council election in 2012 - coming fourth out of five with just 209 votes. Doesn't appear to have stood in 2015, but has resurfaced standing for Kirkham North this year. Otherwise not known to us.

 SILVERWOOD, Elaine Margaret   (Independent)

Topped the ward poll last time with 876 votes Former owner of the former Silverdell bookshop and ice cream parlour in Kirkham (now Book, Bean and Ice Cream) specialises in celebrity signed books and event organisation. and lots of publicity to Kirkham. Continues to grow in stature and ability as a Councillor. We'd be amazed if she is not re-elected.

 SMALL, Rob  (Conservative)

Lives locally. We believe he is the son of Fylde Cllr Roger Small from St Annes. He shares the same address in Kirkham with a candidate standing for Kirkham South - so keeping it in the family seems popular.

 KIRKHAM SOUTH FBC 2 seats available 

 BOARDMAN, Jayne Clare (Labour)

Stood in the 2017 Lytham St John's ward by-election for Labour, coming third with just 45 votes to (Independent)  Mark Bamforth's 564. She provides no address on her nomination statement this year except "Address in Fylde"

 This is a new (and to us very unwelcome) feature from the Electoral Commission for 2019 onward.  We strongly believe those standing for Public Office ought to have their contact details published.  Her 2017 Nomination Statement  - which remains publicly available - shows a Kirkham address

 COLLINS, David John (Conservative)

First time standing as far as we can tell. Not known to us but gives a St Annes address suggesting he does not live within the ward..

 HARDY, Peter  (Independent)

A well known Independent councillor who polled 740 votes last time, He is a Absolutely walking living breathing solid common sense on legs. Plain speaking and not afraid to speak up, he is as good a local councillor as you could wish for. 

 OADES, Liz  (Independent)

Secured a massive 963 votes last time, this is counterbalance's own 'Queen Elizabeth' of Kirkham. She is it's undisputed first lady. She is also a Kirkham Town Councillor and Lancashire County Councillor. A solid, really hard working, absolutely committed Councillor with a strong social conscience and a clear sense of right and wrong. We don't always agree with her views, but we greatly respect her honesty and openness. She is absolutely committed to the people of Kirkham and Fylde. They couldn't wish for a better councillor and we would be amazed if she was not re-elected.

 SRAMKOVA, Jaroslava (Conservative)

First time standing as far as we can tell. Not known to us and no previous electoral form. This is the candidate having the same address as Rob Small who is standing in Kirkham North Ward.

 MEDLAR-WITH-WESHAM WARD FBC 2 seats available 

 BALL, Peter Rodney  (Conservative)

Well known to us. Former founding member of the 'Integrity UK' party in 2010 that was years ahead of its time. Former Wesham Town Councillor elected on the Integrity UK ticket in 2011 (and later Independent.) Now standing for the Conservatives. He sits toward the far right of the Conservative party. Can be outspoken and with almost obsessive attention to detail. He is terrier-like and will not give up on something he has got his teeth into until he has shaken it to death. He has a very good head for figures and willingness to ferret deep into problems to understand them. His persistence and  analytical mind could be a great asset if elected.

 CLAYTON, Alan David  (Independent)

Also well known to us. Topped the ward poll last time with 802 votes. He is an intelligent, charming, mild mannered, thoughtful, willing, hard working community-minded Councillor on both Fylde Borough and Wesham Town Councils. He has frequently been the 'bridge builder' between the more outspoken of the Independent councillors and the majority Conservative group on Fylde. That's not to say he is a pushover - he's not - he stands his ground with the best, but his eminently civilised manner builds trust - which  for the most part is lacking at Fylde. He is very well known and widely respected in Wesham so we think and hope he will be re-elected. It would be a tragedy if he were not.

 JEPSON, Callum David (Conservative)

First time standing as far as we can tell. Not known to us.  Appears to live in Lytham (outside the Ward) so not as local as the others here. He shares his home address with three other people who work at Lytham Hall - each of whom is also standing as a Conservative  candidate but in different wards.

 NULTY, Linda Jane (Independent)

Also well known to us, Cllr Nulty is another big vote puller - with only a handful less than the poll-topping Cllr Alan Clayton last time. She has  a heart the size of the planet. She's a very human, caring, Councillor with a strong sense of justice and fair play. Works exceptionally hard on behalf of Wesham and is well thought of by her community. We'd be very surprised if she was not re-elected simply because of the love she emanates for Wesham and its people. She is also a member of Wesham Town Council.

 SHELDON, Dave  (Labour)

Stood for the Labour Party last time and had  a creditable 500 votes (which was about the same result as the (then) Conservative candidate). Standing again this time and no doubt hoping to do better this year and we think he might improve his position a bit.

 NEWTON AND TREALES WARD FBC 2 seats available 

 COLLINS, Peter   (Independent)

Able and popular Independent who polled 1,272 votes last time. Has become one of those speakers who you look forward to hearing in Council because the clarity of his take on issues demands your attention. As Mayor this year he has been a stickler for enforcing the Constitution properly  - nothing less than Fylde's own 'Erskin May'.  When he is moved to comment you can be sure he will put his point strongly and clearly. Bold and fearless in what he says having found his feet in Council business, he has grown in ability and stature within the Council. We expect him to be re-elected.

 KNIGHT, Johnny (Conservative)

Local man lives in the Ward. Otherwise not known to us. First time standing as far as we can tell.

 LOMAX, Paul  (Conservative)

Not resident within the ward (which will count against him for some), he has thespian connections on the Fylde coast and helps manage Lytham Hall with Fylde's Cllr Peter Anthony but has a slightly lower public profile. Well known in Lytham circles but less so here. Stood for Singleton in 2015 where he polled 298 votes against incumbent Maxine Chew's 481 votes. Also stood in the 2017 Lytham St John's Ward where he polled 278  votes against Fylde Ratepayers' Mark Bamforth's 564 so he seems keen to be elected somewhere. If he was going to get elected, we think it would probably have been in Lytham where he didn't make it. So whilst we think he will do better than Mr Knight, we're not confident of success for him here.

 SPEAK, Heather Ann  (Independent)

Well known and well loved lady who stuck her neck out against fracking from the beginning. Campaigned with others (at some personal risk) successfully, against the Roseacre site. She has a very wide social circle and is held in high regard by the local community. Like Lind Nulty from Wesham she too has a heart the size of the planet, and we think her self-evident warmth and concern for her electorate alone would see her re-elected. At the 2015 election she polled 1,271 votes (just one vote below her Independent colleague Peter Collins' 1,272) We think she is very likely to be one of the two Councillors returned by this ward.

 SULLIVAN, Jed   (Labour)

Came fourth of five in the 2013 Lancashire County Council (Fylde West division) election, polling 317 votes against Independent Paul Hayhurst's 1,383.  Also stood for Labour as Fylde's MP in 2015, (came second with 8,182 votes compared with Mark Menzies' 21,406). Stood to become Labour's MP again in the 2017 national election (polled 15,529 - second place to Mark Menzies' 27,334). He also stood for Fylde Council's Kirkham South Ward in 2015 where he polled 355 votes. (Significantly less that Independent Peter Hardy's 740 and Liz Oades' 963). Newton and Treales Ward was contested by Labour's Bill Taylor in 2015 who polled 246 votes. (The Independent candidates polled 1,200+ each). As a local chap, Mr Sullivan might do a bit better than Mr Taylor did last year. He is self-evidently keen, but taking on such well known and popular incumbents must seem like 'Mission Impossible' He may be related to Fran Sullivan who is standing for Labour in Staining and Weeton ward.

 PARK WARD FBC 3 seats available 

 CHRISTIAN, Timothy   (Labour)

Stood for Labour in 2015 coming last of five with 749 votes (the other four candidates were all over 1,000).

 GILL, Brian Douglas  (Independent)

Local man, St Annes resident for 40 years and Park Ward resident since 2004, but something of a puzzle to us. On Saturday 6th we saw a leaflet with photos and an election address on his Facebook page - promoting his case for election, but by Sunday 7th it seemed to have vanished. On Sunday 14th It reappeared, only to vanish again on Monday 15th. His literature, (whilst available online) majored on Fylde's spending priorities, Planning control, the Moss Road, infrastructure and other matters.  It also posed questions about increasing taxation and declining services and a number of matters that are really the concern of the county Council.  He says he is a member of the Public Participation Group at Ansdell Medical Centre, and he worked as a Chartered Engineer with BAE Systems for 38 years. He also appears to be the owner of a company called 'Aerospace Platforms Consultancy Limited' of the same address. [Updated 16 April].

 GREEN, Shirley   (Conservative)

Stood (we think for the first time) in 2015 in park Ward and took a massive 1,729 votes, topping the ward poll. She is a very able and hardworking administrator for the Fylde Conservative Association and runs the local parliamentary office for Mark Menzies. She is incredibly well connected amongst Fylde's Conservatives and has become even more so in the last five years. She's a tough, no-nonsense, plain speaking lady who knows how to make things happen. She says very little in Council and Committee, but it's plain to us that hers are the hands that are pulling many of the unseen strings that make things happen. We'd be amazed if she does not get elected.

 HARVEY, Neil  (Independent).

First stood in Kilnhouse Ward in 2011 and did reasonably well. Stood in Park Ward in 2015 and came second with 1,626 votes (just 103 votes less than Shirley Green's massive result). Lived in Fylde for 40 years but has a home address in Blackpool now, but is qualified to stand because we believe he has work or business interests here in Fylde. Currently Vice Chair of Fylde's important Finance and Democracy Committee. He is now standing as an Independent (which is likely to cost him votes on last time assuming the Conservative vote holds up), and his literature majors on the problems of 'narrow party politics at local level', He is also campaigning on the Moss Road/M55 Link road, improvements at Whalley Place and the condition of roads in general.  We really hope he gets elected. We have watched him speak in Committees and Council, and even if we didn't agree with what he said, we were always impressed with his ability to grasp and sensibly debate complicated officer reports. He has the ability and potential to be a future Council leader. His candidacy also carries a solid and ringing endorsement from the well-known County Councillor for Park Ward Cllr Paul Hayhurst. [Updated 15 April].

 PITMAN, Sandra  (Conservative).

Also lives out of the Ward (in Warton). Elected for Park Ward in 2015 with 1,241 votes (385 votes behind Neil Harvey).  Sometimes displays a fearless and forthright manner in debate which is said by some to have introduced disharmony. But she has another community volunteering side. We have seen her undertaking practical work like watering 'In Bloom' hanging baskets in the evening, and helping to tidy the St Annes Library Grounds just before it re-opened.

 WITHERS, Michael Stephen  (Conservative)

Not known to us personally, and standing for the first time we believe. Lived in LSA since 1963 Managing Director of four companies. Longstanding Conservative party member and served on the Ward Committee for a time. Well connected locally. We think he might also be connected to one of the Trustees with the same surname at Lowther Pavilion - the travails of which we've covered in several recent articles.

 RIBBY-WITH-WREA WARD FBC 1 seat available 

 ANDREWS, Frank  (Conservative)

Well known and well respected in the ward. Polled 527 at the 2015 election (winning by 163 over his nearest rival). Rarely speaks at Council meetings, but undoubtedly influences things behind the scenes, and is not afraid to disagree with colleagues in Committee if he feels strongly about something. We'd be very surprised if he is not elected.

MCIVER,  Matt  (Independent)

Not known to us personally but is a School Governor and works in education. Former Member of Kirkham Town Council.

 SINGLETON AND GREENHALGH WARD FBC 1 seat available 

 ANSELL, Nick  (Labour)

Stood at Staining for Labour in the 2011 Fylde Election (came fourth of five candidates). Also stood in the 2017 Staining by-election and came second of three with 111 votes (290 behind Conservative Jayne Nixon). Now trying his hand at Singleton. Address not given but within Fylde.

 BUTLER, Stephen  (Conservative)

Greenhalgh resident and nephew of former Fylde Councillor Harold Butler, and well connected within Fylde Conservatives. Stood in Newton and Treales in 2011 (polling 324 votes to come fourth). Stood in Elswick in 2015 (where he polled 227 against Independent Paul Hauhurst's 668). With Singleton's long-serving Cllr Maxine Chew having retired from political life this year, this contest is more open than usual and he may do well. (In 2015 the Conservative Candidate polled 298 against Cllr Chew's 481)

 LEE, Matthew Everett

Not known to us personally but his literature says he is a Singleton resident for the last 12 years, a Former Chairman and now Trustee of the Singleton Village Hall Committee, a School Governor, and one of the founders of 'Radio Wave' in Blackpool. He is standing as an Independent, and is currently Chairman of Singleton Parish Council which is likely to make him well known in the village. His candidacy carries an endorsement from retiring and very popular Singleton Cllr Maxine Chew, so we think this could be quite a close contest between him and Mr Butler. His key issues are transport, fly tipping and preserving a rural way of life., [Updated 16 April]

 ST. JOHN'S WARD FBC 3 seats available

 BAMFORTH, Mark Elliott  (Lytham St Annes Independents)

(Lytham St Annes Independents is the new name of the former 'Fylde Ratepayers' party). Former Post Office and store owner Mark Bamforth , was elected in a by-election polling an amazing 804 votes in a turnout of just 33% He topped the ward poll in 2015 with 1,607 votes. He is an incredibly popular and well known individual. He's the sort of chap who sets out his stall and gets organised with the minimum of fuss. An unceremonial, practical, man whose only political focus is his electorate, and he makes things happen. We will be amazed if he does not get elected.

 LLOYD, Roger Henry  (Lytham St Annes Independents)

Standing for Lytham St Annes Independents alongside Mark Bamforth . He is a former Fylde Councillor from several years ago. He is well known in Lytham - from connections with a former business and sits toward the 'Green' end of the political spectrum. Came second to Mark Bamforth in the 2015 election with 1,028 votes (ahead of Tim Ashton's 916 votes).  It's curious to see two Independent candidates standing in the same ward, but  such is their popularity that we'd be surprised if both are not elected again.

Lytham's long-standing Cllr Tim Ashton is not up for election this year, so we think the real contest here will be for the third seat amongst the following:

 MULLIGAN ROJAS, Elizabeth Anne  (Conservative)

Not known to us, so we suspect she has not stood for election in Fylde before and thus we have no form to report. Gives her home address as 'In Fylde' so she might not be local to the ward and she doesn't have much of a public profile (as yet at least)However, we heard from a reader today that this lady also regularly works in the Tea Room at Lytham Hall. Assuming our reader is correct, that now makes it five employees at Lytham Hall who are standing as Conservative candidates for different wards in this election. [Updated 15 April].

 SAYWARD, Michael James  (Conservative)

Lives in the Ward. Not known to us personally, so we suspect she has not stood for election in Fylde before and thus we have no form to report. Facebook says he's had his own business in Lytham for the last five years; has been an active member of the Lytham Business Partnership, and also helped set up the Lytham Community Fund. His Twitter account says he is 'A bit mental, very outspoken & outgoing! Life & Soul of the party! Dog lover.'

 TAYLOR, Bill  (Labour)

Labour stalwart of many years standing. Would undoubtedly be a safe pair of hands for them because of his experience of standing over the years. St John's has returned a Labour Councillor before (the incredibly locally popular Wilf Callon), so he has grounds for hope, and St Johns is a very mixed - and sometimes unpredictable - demographic that can deliver electoral surprises.

 WILKINSON, Deborah Theresa  (Conservative)

Not known to us, so we suspect she has not stood for election in Fylde before and thus we have no form to report, but she lives and has been a hairdresser in Lytham for 19 years with two salons. Describes herself on facebook as a ‘hands on’ girl and a very active member of the community including fundraising for local schools and local projects. School PTA treasurer and runs  a free online business network.  Is also involved around the Fylde Coast helping the homeless community. Trustee of a soup kitchen. Sponsored some local awards as well. Sounds like a busy lady deeply involved in her community. We think she might do well.

 ST. LEONARD'S WARD FBC 3 seats available

 BOSTOCK, Fred   (Labour)

Labour stalwart and lives in the Ward. In 2015 he came fifth out of seven candidates, with 613 votes behind Liberal democrat Howard Henshaw on 725.

 BUCKLEY, Karen Elizabeth  (Conservative)

Topped the ward poll last time with 959 votes She took member responsibility for Fylde's finance, and has mastered the brief very effectively. We rate her ability on finance to be as good as the best we have had from any councillor in Fylde. She is also a very skilled advocate, easily able to use selected facts to present what appears to be an utterly convincing argument, and sowing just enough doubt into the minds of those she seeks to convince that to do other than what she suggests would be pointless. As deputy Conservative group leader she has a high public profile, and all told, we'd be amazed if she is not re-elected.

 COLLINS, Delma  (Conservative)

Stood in 2015 and came third with 752 votes (just beating LibDem Howard Henshaw's 725 votes). Regular attender - but hardly ever speaks - in the Fylde meetings we've attended. Probably the most 'at risk' of the three Conservatives who are standing.

 JACQUES, Angela Rosemary   (Conservative)

Came second in 2015  with 836 votes. (Just 123 votes behind poll topping Karen Buckley). Rarely speaks in Council and seems to prefer working behind the scenes. Well and widely known in the ward (and in St Annes generally). Town Councillor and is well connected in various local community organisations which gives her a significant public profile. We expect her to be re-elected.

 LANYON, Carol Lynn  (Independent)

Well known to us and lives in the Ward. Rose to prominence in the Heeley Road Hostel campaign which galvanised her interest in local matters. Formerly a Liberal Democrat but resigned last year. Said to be unhappy with the impact of party politics in Local Government. She is a St Annes Town Councillor of 8 years standing and only missed winning a 2011 Fylde Borough seat by 9 votes when she polled 468 to Angela Jacques' 477.  She is a very practical -hands on- Town Councillor and undertakes a lot of voluntary work with the  'In Bloom' and other community groups. Solid, reliable Town Councillor who has built a name for herself by helping residents in her ward. We think it will be a close run contest between her and Mr Bostock, but she might just have the edge, not least because the Labour vote will split between two Candidates this time.

 MILLER, Viki  (Labour)

St Annes lady but lives outside this ward. Otherwise not known to us. First time standing in an election as far as we can tell, as we said we think there is a danger she could split the Labour vote.

 ROTHERY, Tina Louise  (Green)

Well known to us. Incredibly able and fearless anti-fracking, pro-green lady who - most notably - stood for Parliament against George Osborne in the Tatton Constituency. We think her standing in elections might be more about raising the profile of the cause and less about winning. Stood for Parliament against Mark Menzies in 2017 coming fourth of four with 1,263 votes (when Mr Menzies got 27,334). She is prominent amongst (and probably 'invented') the 'Nannas' who have caused Cuadrilla such angst. But don't let that humorous and clever use of the maternalistic concept fool you. She has a sharp, strategic brain, and a terrific ability to generate soundbites. As for being elected, well, we're not expecting earthquakes.....

 TIMMS, James Harry Robert  (Labour)

First time standing as far as we can tell. Not known to us.  Lives in the ward.

 STAINING & WEETON WARD FBC 2 seats available

 NIXON, Jayne Anne  (Conservative)

Local lady who lives in the ward. Still finding her feet in Committee and Council after storming to office in a by-election with 401 votes (to Labour's 111 and Lib Dems 37). Staining Parish Councillor. Gave a talk to potential candidates at Fylde's pre-election candidates briefing as to what they could expect when standing, and gave us the impression of being a practical, common-sense sort of lady. We think she is very likely to be elected again.

 SINGLETON, John Rossall  (Conservative)

Known to us. Local man who topped the poll with 971 votes in 2015. He is a true old-fashoined gentleman with manners to die for. We have high regard for Cllr Singleton, not least because of his ably demonstrated integrity. As Chair of Fylde's Audit Committee we couldn't think of a better role for him, and we have been impressed with his ability to grasp the (often arcane and complex) issues there. We think he is almost certain to be re-elected.

 SULLIVAN, Fran  (Labour)

Local lady who lives in the ward. Stood here in 2015 and came third of three with a respectable 531 votes (behind the Conservatives votes of 971 and 746). Labour has returned a Councillor from Staining before. (The late well respected and hard working councillor Alf Goldberg). And although from what we can see there are some 'core' Labour voters in the ward, former Cllr Goldberg's support was fundamentally on his personality and warmth as a human being. The recent scandal attached to former Staining Conservative Cllr Albert Pounder might have damaged the Conservative 'brand' a bit, but we think the character and personalities of the present incumbents will make it hard for Labour to overtake them this time.

 WARTON & WESTBY WARD FBC 3 seats available

 BRICKLES, Julie Ann  (Independent)

Lives in the ward, is very well known and highly regarded locally. Topped the ward poll in 2015 with 1,209 votes. Member of Warton Parish Council. She has cemented herself into the ward's civic life and is also prominent in making the case against fracking where her principled but responsible stance is sometimes attacked by those on the more anarchic 'provisional wing' of the movement. She is able, determined, tenacious and absolutely will not give up on an issue about which she feels strongly. Dogged and determined, she is a no-nonsense practical sort of person which - as readers will know - is what we think FBC is short of.

 BRICKLES, Michael  (Independent)

Stood in 2015 and polled 863 votes, (just 117 votes from winning a seat). Dynastic family candidacy in Warton is quite common (especially if your family name is 'Rigby') and, Michael Brickles is, of course, the husband of Cllr Julie Brickles. We know him to be quieter and perhaps more thoughtful in his manner, but he is no less determined and tenacious.

 FOWLER, Ian  (Conservative)

With both of the 2015 winning Conservatives not standing this time the election is probably more open, and the Conservatives are fielding three candidates. We're never sure of the wisdom of this as it can split the Conservative vote and allow others in.

Mr Fowler lives in Freckleton but he is otherwise unknown to us, so we suspect he has not stood for election in Fylde before, thus we have no form to report except to say that he shares his home address with a lady called Susan Lily Fowler who is standing for the Conservatives in Kirkham North ward.

 KIRKHAM, John  (Conservative)

Local man lives in the ward. became a Fylde councillor by winning a 2017 by-election (with 884 votes) after the incredibly able and very impressive former Fylde Cllr Richard Taylor resigned from the Council. We've not seen Cllr Kirkham say a great deal inn Council or Committee but he's probably still finding his feet there.

 RIGBY, Bobby  (Conservative)

Not known to us personally (although we have been told he is a relative of former Fylde, now County Councillor Paul Rigby), so we suspect he has not stood for election in Fylde before, and we have no form to report.

 VIRCO, Harry  (Labour)

Sadly, another candidate who is not known to us and we suspect he has not stood for election in Fylde before, so we have no form to report.
UPDATE 11 April: According to The Times newspaper yesterday, Mr. Virco has been suspended from the Labour Party following allegations of inappropriate race / religious comments on social media.


GENERAL UPDATE 13 APRIL:  We're hearing that the Conservative candidates in particular are being hammered on the doorsteps for what's happening with Brexit.  We were told by one individual they are responding to such criticism by saying that's not a local issue, but that's not mollifying irate voters.

We also hear that electors are telling canvassers that they don't want to speak with them if they are from either of the two main political parties, and also that they will not be voting at all this time because there's no point in doing so. Instances of this reaction are said to have increased significantly from previous years.


GENERAL UPDATE 15 APRIL: A reader with inside knowledge of the Conservative Group's working arrangements told us that in a few cases, the reasons for de-selection were particular to the individual, but in general, the main thrust of the de-selections (and the selection of new, unknown, candidates) was more to do with de-selecting those who were deemed to be not sufficiently 'ideologically Conservative',  i.e. they were not 'party people.''

We were also told that those who *have* been selected are frequently 'party apparatchik' types and helpers who undertake work within the local party.

The fact that we noted most of them seemed to be younger might have been co-incidental, or perhaps have something to do with malleability.

With political parties of all hues getting a pounding in the doorsteps as canvassing takes place, it might be that a strategy to increase the 'party political element' of candidates at this time (in the face the electorate's anger at the party system),  will not play well with voters


It's all for you to decide on Thursday 2 May 2019..

Dated:  10 April 2019

 

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