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Labour council candidates at Bridgwater docks

The nominations for Somerset County Council and all contested Parish/Town Councils closed at 1600 hrs on Tuesday, 5th April and were  published  on Wednesday, 6th April, 2022. Across the County the Conservatives are standing a full slate of 110 candidates, 2 in every division, aiming to hold on to their control of the County whilst at the same time slumping in the National opinion polls. Conversely, the Lib Dems, very near the bottom of those same polls, are fighting their usual campaign of ‘we’re not quite as bad as the Tories’ and standing in 108 seats claiming only ‘they’ can win (wherever they stand). The reality is different, particularly in such strong Labour  areas as Bridgwater where only a single Lib Dem has been elected at any level in 20 years. In Bridgwater it’s Labour on the frontline with a 100% slate of candidates in all 14 seats. Meanwhile across the county both Labour  and the Greens are playing a more subtle game, standing enough candidates in targeted seats to have a major influence on the new Unitary Council. 45 Labour candidates and 48 Green candidates are standing across the county often providing a Red and Green alternative to the Blue and Yellow and presenting a major threat to the Lib Dems ‘winning here’ claim in certain parts of the county.  And then there’s the usual string of independents doomed to fall between every stool and accountable to no-one (21 this time round). And then there’s the pretend independents of Frome who in reality constitute a Party. 2 ‘IfFy’s are standing. And finally there’s the far right…1 UKIP 1 Freedom Alliance and 1 ‘For Britain’. So, what are the prospects? We asked Labour Leader of Labour controlled Bridgwater Town Council, Brian Smedley (Labour), for a biased view which presented things in the best light for Labour.

How to Vote (Labour)

Brian Smedley, Bridgwater Labour Leader “What I’d do if I was me.”

Cllr Smedley advised….”The Tories and Lib Dems will fight themselves into a hole of their own making. The Tories will have to ‘own’ the Unitary Council which they’ve created. And it’s not popular with Somerset voters. It’s a reduction of democracy and it’s designed to make major cutbacks plus its far too remote. The Lib Dems are thinking they’ll just be able to walk into County Hall because they’re ‘not the Tories’. The trouble is no-one believes that any more after the last chance they had at any power saw them actually bringing the Tories back into Government and getting absolutely nothing out of it themselves. No PR, No ending of tuition fees and no membership of the EU. So what’s the choice? It’s pretty clear to me that none of the above are of any use and so the simple rule has to be where you see a Labour candidate on your ballot paper vote for that one. If there’s 2 Labour, vote for both. If there’s 1 Labour and 1 Green…consider voting for both. If there’s no Labour, vote Green. and if there’s no Labour OR Green…and only then….vote Lib Dem. Under no circumstances vote Tory or I will personally come round your house and write ‘Nit’ on your forehead with a blue marker pen.”

In Towns and Parishes across the region elections are also being held. In Labour Controlled Bridgwater Councillor Smedley urged “Vote for every Labour name on your ballot paper. That should do it!”

A full list of candidates for Bridgwater Town Council is here.

What happens next….?

“Jolly Voting Weather” on the way

The list of persons nominated for the twelve divisions in Sedgemoor for Somerset County Council – Elections 2022 (sedgemoor.gov.uk)

The Labour candidates are here

The full list of all persons nominated across all four districts can be found here Elections (somerset.gov.uk)

For their first year, the councillors will take responsibility for all current County Council services and oversee the ridiculous  local government re-organisation that the Tories fought each other about to establish a single unitary council on 1 April 2023.

And remember…Never trust a Lib Dem bar chart…THIS is a real one showing actual councillors elected in Bridgwater Town, District and County elections over 20 years.

District councils will remain until 31 March 2023 and the councillors serving on them will continue in their roles until that date.

From 1 April 2023, the 110 councillors of the unitary council will be responsible for services that are currently delivered by the county and four district councils, ranging from adults and children’s social care to highways and housing, and from libraries to planning and licensing.

Still Chance to Register

Anyone eligible to vote but not already on the electoral register has one week left to put that right – the deadline is midnight on Thursday, 14 April. You can do it online by visiting www.gov.uk/register-to-vote or by contacting your local district council.

Electors still have time to apply for postal or proxy votes. The deadline for postal votes is before 5pm on 19 April. Applications for a proxy vote – appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf – must be submitted before 5pm on 26 April.

Key dates:

  • Deadline to register to vote – 14 April
  • Close of postal vote applications – 19 April 2022
  • Polling Day – Thursday 5 May 2022
  • Count of votes and declarations of results for 110 Unitary councillors – 6 May 2022
  • Count of votes and declarations for Town and Parish Councils – 7 May 2022

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2 years ago

A good start already, Labours Sam Brooker, Keiran Canham, and Mick McGuffy were elected to Wellington Town Council

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