OF ALL the candidates in this May’s local election, you are unlikely to meet a more passionate candidate than Gary Byrne in The Homesteads.
Sure, he has a lot of rough edges and sure someone may need to sit down and explain the laws of libel to him but he clearly cares about his community.
Gary runs the Homesteads Village Hall. It has become a hub for the local Stanford community and much of it has been driven by Gary and his team.
He organised the recent crime meeting there and there does not seem to be a week that goes by that a community event is highlighted.
It is an old fashioned community (as evidenced by the crime meeting ) but maybe candidates like Gary hark back to a more traditional time.
He is clearly frustrated by his local councillors, which is a bit harsh on James Halden, who, in our opinion, is one of the most high profile and active of councillors, both from a local and borough wide perspective.
Truth be told, most wards have the one hard worker who appears to carry the other two. The Thurrock Tories talk about "turning off the tax payers tap" but we don’t see anyone rushing to apply to the secretary of state to reduce the number of councillors from 49 to say, 25……..
Labour came close in 2012, losing by just 111 (they have held this seat before). In 2014, UKIP came very close losing by 135 votes.
In 2015, Pauline Tolson won by 521 votes in a General Election year.
A closer inspection shows that the Tory percentage has been pretty steady at 37%, 42% and 42% respectively.
UKIP veteran and local businessman, Clive Broad is standing. Which probably means that they will do respectably well but not get close enough.
We know very little about the Conservative candidate which may mean he will underline Gary Byrne’s point….
As for Gary, he will do well to get over 300 votes. But we have the feeling that we may see Mr Byrne again.
YT prediction: Cons hold but less than 40%….
Clive Broad – UKIP
Gary Byrne – Independent
Gary Collins – Conservative
Mike Fletcher – Labour