YOU have to go back to 2006, when Ockendon last returned a Labour councillor. That does seem surprising. Conservative Barry Johnson won by just 14 votes in 2007. Since then Amanda Arnold won by 210 in 2008 and Lynn Carr by 236 last year.
Many see this as the bell weather seat in the borough. Win this on May 6th and Labour may be on its way to gaining full control of the council as the Tories go back to pre-2004 “obscurity”.
This year, Aaron Kiely is standing for Labour in the ward. Labour represents a new breed of Labour candidate in the borough. A fresh injection of youth is just what Labour needed, especially in this ward, especially with the ongoing debacle of the South Ockendon Residents Assocation and the Belhus 3.
For Aaron, the issues on the doorstep are the 210 operations that residents may not be able to access from the PCT, bus fares, redundancies, crime, the thundering lorries coming through the ward.
Some may say that late January is a little bit early to be campaigning. The Tories are still selecting their candidates but there are only two council meetings left before they break up and with news that Aveley will once more have local man and former Mayor Colin Churchman standing as well as UKIP’s Tim Aker, the west of the borough will be a fascinating political battleground.
YourThurrock caught up with Aaron as he and a large number of Labour supporters canvassed in the ward. We discussed his reasons for standing for council for the first time.