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Who will win the local elections in Thurrock?

HERE at YT towers, we do like an election. However, our readers are more minded to get on with their lives and give it less attention.

In our list of the top 200 stories of 2015, the first pure politics story came in at No 120.

However, the local elections of May 2016 are important and important for a number of reasons.

Whoever wins or to be more precise, whoever ends up running Thurrock Council, will have a two year run at it.

Once the list of runners and riders come out, we will, as we do, have a look at each ward, and the issues that concern each area.

We will then predict who will win and no doubt get it wrong! But hey, at least it is better than "Its hard to say…"

To recap.

The balance is as follows: Labour 18, Cons 17 and Ukip 11. There are three Independents.

Labour

This is going to be a strange election for Labour. In John Kent, they have a leader whose cache has never been higher and a cabinet full of capable councillors.

But they are defending a number of key and fragile seats.

Who knows if the Thurrock public will blame them for council tax hikes, the state of the roads and levels of policing?

Who knows about the Corbyn factor?

Labour should hold Grays Riverside, Grays Thurrock and West Thurrock and South Stifford.

There is a question mark over Chadwell St Mary and Tilbury St Chads but incumbents Gerard Rice and Lyn Worrall should hold.

They may well lose Stanford West but the big question is whether they can retain Stanford East and Corringham Town?

Conservatives

The council is there for the taking?

However, will national issues and trends affect the outcome. Will Thurrock residents care enough to send out a message that they are unhappy with council tax hikes, the state of the roads and policing or will they back the long term economic plan?

And of course, we cannot ignore the Jackie Doyle-Price factor. Will her charm-lite performances over the new Thames Crossing affect voting patterns?

The Conservatives should hold Orsett, Chafford/North Stifford, Corringham and Fobbing, Little Thurrock Blackshots, South Chafford, The Homesteads and gain Stanford West.

And there is a scenario that could leave them with the most councillors.

However, we could then be in alliances time, and you get the feeling that, once again, John Kent’s ability to forge alliances is light years ahead of the Thurrock Conservatives ability to rub people (or more precisely Ukip) up the wrong way.

Ukip

Thurrock UKIP have their eyes on further gains in the local elections of May 2016.

They have 11 councillors (out of 49) at present and think they can gain a few more.

They are certainly more than capable of gaining Aveley, Belhus, East Tilbury. Ockendon and Stanford East and Corringham Town.

One may question whether they have the calibre of councillor and candidate to actually run a council. Then again, who thought Leicester City would be top of the league?

The big question is whether Ukip in Thurrock have peaked? In other towns, people made their "protest" in 2014 and then reverted to type.

It is early days but there isn’t the plethora of placards and posters that we saw for the General Election of 2015.

But Thurrock is a political micro-climate. Ukip appear to have built up a solid foundation and many of their councillors have developed a sound reputation for responding to their residents needs.

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By our calculations, it is not inconceivable that we could end up with Conservatives on 17, UKIP on 15 and Labour on 15 plus the two independents.

It has all the hallmarks for a fascinating election

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