With 232 candidates standing for 74 Shropshire Council seats, twenty more candidates than in 2017, the elections on 6 May are looking to be lively.
On the right there are two councillors each for UKIP and Reform UK. The Conservatives are fielding a candidate for all 74 seats. Next up are us Lib Dems with 57 candidates, the highest number we have fielded over the last three elections. The Greens and Labour also have a record number of candidates, 41 each. Fifteen independents will also stand.
Only one seat, Albrighton, is uncontested and that has gone to the Conservatives.
Elections are always unpredictable. There could be some upsets in this election. These are a few points I have picked up and do not represent the views of the Lib Dems.
The current speaker of Shropshire Council, Vince Hunt saw his vote share drop from 79% in 2013 to 47% in 2017 in Oswestry West. He beat the Green candidate by just 11 votes. After controversy over road surfacing to his home, for this election he has moved divisions to Llanymynech. The division was previously held by Conservative Matt Lee who has not attended council meeting for a year despite claiming his allowance. Is Hunt out of the frying pan into the fire? Could he lose Llanymynech? His departure from Oswestry West leaves the ward open to a Green win.
Conservative David Turner has moved geographically left from the Tory heartland in Much Wenlock he has represented for more than a decade to the liberally minded Bishop’s Castle division. It is a puzzling move but no doubt we will learn the reason one day. I am not rating his chances against Lib Dem Ruth Houghton and today may just be the last meeting of the Southern Planning Committee he attends.
Just up the road, Jack Limond, long time landlord of the White Horse, is standing for the Conservatives against long standing councillor Nigel Hartin. This one could be a close call.
There will be oddities in this election. In the north west of the county, Shropshire Council’s deputy leader is describing himself as a “government official”. Criticised to announcing the Tory highways manifesto at an “independent” scrutiny meeting, he now seems to think he is a council officer. Or maybe he thinks he is a civil servant. He faces a strong challenge from Lib Dem David Walker on his second attempt to take the seat. This is one to watch.