A minor by-election for a vacant seat on Bradley Stoke Town Council seems to have taken on an unprecedented significance for two of the contesting political parties.
The vacancy, resulting from the resignation of Barry Mitchell, is being contested by candidates from the Conservatives, Labour and UKIP, with the latter party hoping to increase its representation on the Council following three defections earlier this year.
The Conservatives, keen to avoid what would be the embarrassing loss of a fourth seat within as many months, have had two of their top local politicians, Jack Lopresti MP and Cllr John Calway (Leader of South Gloucestershire Council), pounding the streets in support of their candidate Paul Hardwick.
The local UKIP team, led by former Conservative Town Mayor Ben Walker, has responded by busing in one of their party’s National Executive Committee, Neil Hamilton (a disgraced former MP turned media celebrity), to canvass alongside their candidate Caroline Sullivan.
Labour, putting up a candidate in the Meadowbank parish ward for the first time in many years, have so far resisted any temptation to bring in outside support for their candidate Robin Horsfall.
The Conservatives also seem to be putting a big effort into their election literature, with five deliveries noted so far against one from UKIP and none from Labour.
Around 2,500 people are entitled to vote in the by-election, which takes place on Thursday 6th September. Staging the poll is expected to cost local taxpayers around £4,500. Two previous by-elections in the same ward in October 2008 and November 2009 attracted turnouts of 21% and 15% respectively.
Details of the candidates and a selection of their campaign literature can be found on our special 2012 Meadowbank By-election page.
What the by-election candidates are saying
Paul Hardwick, Conservative
Intouch news sheet, 10th August: Youth funding shake-up challenged; Superfast broadband moves closer; Labour and UKIP risk rapid transit bid; Bus boost for Bradley Stoke.
Intouch news sheet, 30th August: Paul backs leisure centre campaign; Keeping your money in your pockets; Supporting skate park improvements.
Flyer: Paul Hardwick is “the only candidate who lives in the ward”.
Caroline Sullivan, UKIP
Leaflet, 20th August: Cut council tax and business rates; Money for local services, not the European Union; Zero tolerance on crime public services and anti-social behaviour; Get more police on the beat; Cut council executives and managers, not front line services; Control immigration, which threatens our public services; Give real decision making to local communities.
BCfm interview, 24th August: Caroline Sullivan introduces herself and explains her party’s position on Europe and immigration. [listen again]
Read the above material in full via the links on our special 2012 Meadowbank By-election page.
Do you live in the Meadowbank parish ward? Check out the interactive map of parish ward boundaries on The Journal’s Contact your Councillor page.
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