THE STAGE is set for a bloody civil war among Thurrock Tories after former Mayors’ Anne Cheale and Ian Harrison were officially expelled from the Basildon South and East Thurrock Conservative Association (BSET) on Friday night.
The decision may now mean that Mayor Anne Cheale will stand for re-election in the ward of Corringham and Fobbing as an Independent at the local elections on May 5th next year. With a Tory candidate and a UKIP candidate expected to stand as well, the risk may be that the split in the vote could see a Labour candidate win “through the back door”.
The decision to expel the two councillors from the association comes as the chairman of the two associations (Mike Revell and Tim Wilkinson) that cover Thurrock attempt to restructure the party after years (if not decades) of infighting and bickering.
Councillor Harrison is not up for re-election in May 2011 but Concerned Conservative Little Thurrock councillor, Stuart St-Clair Haslam is. With other Tories expected to stand as well as a raft of former Tories standing for UKIP, the signs are that Labour will retain power next May.
The irony is that Labour are, according to sources, desperately short of candidates. The Tories have them in abundance (Conservative Future have 40 members alone). Unfortunately, they are spread over five parties.