Independents and Green Party hope to make gains in May's elections

By Christine Sexton - Local Democracy Reporter

15th Apr 2024 | Local News

INDEPENDENT and Green Party candidates are hoping to make their mark at the ballot box in Thurrock Council's elections next month.

The South West Essex Green Party is fielding candidates in four wards in the May 2 elections while Independent candidates are standing in seven wards. It will be the last one third election before all out elections begin in Thurrock in 2025.

The council was left in no overall control in February after two Tories voted against the council's budget plans, which included an eight per cent rise in council tax and £20million of savings for the virtually bankrupt council, and lost the group whip.

Currently the council has 49 councillors consisting of 23 Conservatives, 19 Labour, five independent members who have grouped together as the Alliance of Independent Councillors (NPAIC) and the two disaffected Tories, Jack Duffin and Alex Anderson, now stand as Independents.

The strong Independent and Green Party presence could potentially further eat into Conservative numbers, with labour also expecting to make a number of gains.

Independent candidates are standing in all wards in the east of the borough and in Chafford &North Stifford.

Cllr Fraser Massey (NPAIC), an independent member for East Tilbury, said: "These upcoming local elections set a record number of independent candidates for Thurrock in recent years. This gives residents a real choice over and above the two Westminster parties.

"Local elections should always be about the person and not the party and I hope to see more independents elected in May."

Green Party candidates are standing in Grays Riverside, Little Thurrock Blackshots, South Chafford and West Thurrock and South Stifford.

Eugene McCarthy, chairman of the South West Essex Green Party, said: "Thurrock deserves better than what the Conservative and Labour have offered. Greens are ready to deliver actual change in this election as clearly the other parties have forgotten Thurrock.

"We're local people fighting for more good jobs, new, decent council homes, investing in our high streets, and common-sense finances. The old parties have given up on Thurrock. We won't."

Labour and Conservatives will stand in all wards.

Cllr John Kent, leader of the Labour group, said keeping services running amid the financial constraints would be a priority for his group.

He said: "Thurrock Conservatives have bankrupted the council, borrowing one and a half billion pounds which they frittered on reckless investments.

"As a result, we will all be paying much more in Council Tax and receiving poorer services for years to come.

"We cannot promise the earth – people aren't fools. Under a Labour council, we will make sure that our vulnerable elderly and young are protected, that basic services are delivered properly and that we are open and transparent at all times."

The bleak picture for Conservatives in national polls is also likely to take its toll locally but Cllr Joy Redsell, Conservative member for Little Thurrock Blackshots remains upbeat.

She said: "I hope people will differentiate between Government and local but some people don't. I'm hopeful. I've got a good ward and it's my 20th year.

"It's only for a year as we are all out next year and we'll do it all over again."

Two-councillor wards at Little Thurrock Rectory, Stifford Clays, Tilbury Riverside and Thurrock Park will not be contested this year.

The candidates (*councillors currently elected):

Aveley and Uplands

Augustine Onanaji (Con - *currently represents South Chafford), Cathy Sisterson (Lab)

Belhus

Georgette Polley* (Con), Victoria Holloway (Lab)

Chadwell St Mary

Charlie Taylor-Webb (Con), Ngozi Alike (Lab)

Chafford & North Stifford

Adam Carter (Con - *Currently represents Chadwell St Mary), Lynda Heath (Lab), Bisi Sowunmi (Ind)

Corringham & Fobbing

Shane Ralph (Con), James Mackinlay (Lab), John Fox (Ind)

East Tilbury

Shamim Miah (Con), Alastair Craft (Lab), Sue Sammons* (Ind)

Grays Riverside

Bunmi Ojetola (Con), Tony Fish* (Lab) Daniel Fallows (Green Party)

Grays Thurrock

Joglur Rahman (Con), John Kent* (Lab)

Little Thurrock Blackshots

Joy Redsell* (Con), Michael Fletcher (Lab), Magun Singh (Green Party)

Ockendon

Luke Spillman* (Con), Ryan Polston (Lab)

Orsett

David Day (Con), Carl Morris (Lab), Jack Duffin (Ind - *Currently represents Stanford East and Corringham Town)

South Chafford

Tunde Ojetola (Con), Gary Watson (Lab), Caitlin Fallows (Green Party)

Stanford East & Corringham Town

George Wright (Con), Ajay Kapoor (Lab), Roy Jones (Ind)

Stanford-le-Hope West

Terry Piccolo* (Con), Philip Smith (Lab), Ross Byrne (Ind)

The Homesteads

Allen Mayes (Con), Clifford Holloway (Lab), Lisa Sargent (Ind)

Tilbury St Chads

Daryl Palmer (Con), Kairen Raper* (Lab)

West Thurrock and South Stifford

Elisabeta Blaj (Con), Lee Watson* (Lab), Ri Goodyear (Green Party)

Some polling stations have changed this year so registered voters are encouraged to check their card carefully. Polling hours on Thursday, May 2 are from 7am until 10pm.

Inbformation about Thurrock elections and voting: https://www.thurrock.gov.uk/elections-and-voting

     

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