Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Ward by ward: Chadwell St Mary-The Rice going down to the wire

BACK in 2007, this reporter went for an afternoon stroll in Chadwell St Mary with the BNP candidate and his pals (cuddly Richard Barnbrook, Emma Colgate etc).

The more doors they knocked on in Longhouse Road etc, the more this reporter heard a set number of complaints. It wasn’t potholes and bins, it was all about their country.

That year, they polled 738 votes in Chadwell losing by 235 Over the whole borough, they polled 7149 votes (24.9%).

Those voters have not gone away. They have gone blue and red and red/white/blue.

In 2008, Gerard Rice won by 280 (41%). In 2010, Barbara Rice won by 838 votes (48%).

In 2011, Tony Fish won by 649 (a whopping 52% of the vote).

But that was the year in which a UKIP candidate first stood. In that year, Ukip polled 262 votes.

In 2012, Gerard Rice won again by 684 votes (58%).

All seemed pretty rock solid for Labour until Ukip’s peak year in 2014. In that year, Ukip made massive gains as Labour got home by 110 votes (43%).

That was a big turnaround and it was made complete when Russell Cherry won for Ukip in 2015 by 449 votes (43%).

The shoe is definitely on the other foot. Cllr Russell Cherry has made himself known in the ward and has clearly wanted to make his mark on a whole range of issues. He has probably been a good example to the Ukip candidate, Matthew Torri and look like it could be a winning combination.

But whereas in 2015, Labour had a pretty weak candidate; this time, it is Gerard Rice.

He is a veteran campaigner, a seasoned campaigner and you just know that Gerard and his good lady wife, cllr Barbara Rice have put every effort to retain the seat.

Speaking to cllr Rice, he said: "We have been working 365 days a year, 52 weeks to serve the people of Chadwell.

"We are always listening to the concerns of people of Chadwell and striving to make their lives better.

"Whether it is me or my wife or my dear late father, we are proud to serve this community."

This is a tough one to call but we think there is still enough support for Ukip in this ward to see them home.

YT prediction: Ukip gain.

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