A BUMPER 72 candidates in sixteen wards illustrates that democracy is alive and well in Thurrock as they all head off to do battle for the local elections on May 5th.
Both Labour and the Conservative have a full slate of candidates. Labour have a wide age range from veteran 76-year-old Charlie Curtis to a group of fresh faced graduates such as Gemma Robbins in Stanford West.
The Conservatives have ex-Mayor Maureen Pearce making a comeback in Aveley; husband and wife team Georgette and Paul Polley as well as former portfolio holder Barry Johnson hoping to hold onto bell-weather ward Ockendon.
The Lib-Dems are planting roots in the borough with an impressive rack of fifteen candidates lined up to answer those tricky questions on EMA and tuition fees.
Whilst UKIP have their biggest showing yet with fourteen candidates. Rising star Tim Aker will once again be working hard in Aveley whilst the irrepressible Broad Bros have drafted the more diplomatic Mrs Jill Broad (Alan’s wife) to stand in Ockendon, which will make it even more a fascinating race there.
The BNP have imploded from near full slates in the past four campaigns to just seven candidates but they also include former Thurrock Conservative advisor, Sue Sibthorpe.
There continues to be a healthy number of Independent candidates. Will this be the year for former Mayor Colin Churchman in Aveley? The Tories have put a candidate in the way of their “voting ally” John Purkiss while the voice of common sense in Thurrock Park, Keith Hatcher has another go after an impressive showing last year.
It is also good to see a Green candidate for the first time with a candidate in the Homesteads in Simon Barnes.
YT will begin its ward by ward coverage with the Homesteads this afternoon.