Nominations for candidates for the general election closed Thursday night. Here in Ludlow, four candidates are standing. Philip Dunne will bat for the Conservatives. Julia Buckley is standing for Labour. Hilary Wendt is the Green candidate. Heather Kidd will represent the Liberal Democrats.
The unitary elections were not a disaster for any political party other than UKIP. The Liberal Democrats lost one seat to the Conservatives as did Labour and an independent. The Greens lost one seat but gained another.
Although the Conservatives gained 7% more votes and one more seat over 2013, the opposition was far from decimated. Could more seats have been won if the opposition parties had cooperated? I think so. And if we had have done so, we might have created a very different, progressive future for our county.
Former Leader of South Shropshire District Council and Shropshire Councillor Heather Kidd has been chosen to take on Philip Dunne in the general election. Heather is well known for her campaigns for the health service, schools and better broadband and mobile phone signal in our very rural constituency. She also pioneered affordable housing policies which delivered affordable housing to rent and buy in South Shropshire.
In last Thursday’s elections, the UKIP vote nosedived from 11% to 1%, largely benefiting the Conservatives whose vote share rose by 7%. The Greens gained 6%, partly through fielding more candidates.
The Conservatives now have 49 seats (up 3). The Liberal Democrats 12 (down 1). Labour 8 (down 1). Independent 4 (down 1). Green 1 (lost one, won one).
Elections took place in two wards, Hayton and Whitcliffe. Candidates in five wards were elected unopposed. Three councillors will be co-opted into vacancies.
Hayton Ward. Erica Garner topped the poll with 170 votes. Mark Clark gained 158 votes and Kevin Newbold 123. Garner and Clark are elected.
Whitcliffe Ward. Tim Gill topped the poll with 334 votes. Nicola Paton gained 148 votes and Jim Smithers 110. Gill and Paton are elected.
There are three new faces on the council, Erica Garner, Nicola Paton and Robin Pote.