News | Politics Candidates line up at the polls

THE battle lines are being drawn in the run-up to May’s county council elections on May 4. The most tantalising is the con-

test for Maidstone south east, where the Conservatives, Labour and Ukip all stand a chance of win- ning or at least affecting the final result.

Ukip’s Eddie Powell will fight

the seat, up against Gary Cooke who has been the representative for the past eight years. If Mr Powell splits the right-of-

centre vote, there is a chance Labour’s DanWilkinson can sneak in.

Ukip did not field a candidate in

2013, arguably allowing incumbent Cllr Cooke to squeeze in with ama- jority of less than 300 over the Labour Party. Despite Ukip's struggles and widely-publicised infighting na- tionally, Mr Powell – a respected borough councillor – says that vot- ers will be inclined to elect the per- son and not the party. The Conservative candidate has a

strong record of hard work and community activity and is well thought of by many living in his di- vision. Cllr Cooke’s opposition to Maid-

stone Borough Council's house- building programme and recent

second in 2013 in the south east di- vision and Cllr Cooke may fear that a Ukip candidate will split the Tory vote and allow Labour in. But Ukip feels it can plunder votes from the Tories and Labour. Mike Hogg will take on Liberal Democrat Brian Clark in the Maid- stone south division while Ukip borough councillor Gordon New- ton will go head to head with KCC leader Paul Carter in Maidstone rural north. Cllr Clark has a large majority of

just under 700 in the south division, where Brian Clark is the Liberal Democrat member. Mr Newton will also face a diffi-

announcement of a public consul- tation into options for a Leeds-Lan- gley relief road should stand him in good stead to regain the seat. Cllr Cooke came under fire from

Ukip borough councillor John Barned for using the relief road as an election "stunt" adding: "Why didn't he bring this forward years ago? He's been a county councillor for eight years." Cllr Cooke, in a recent address to

residents in Otham, said he had been campaigning for a relief road for years. He added: "I will continue to

bash my head against a brick wall because a relief road is the most im- portant thingwe can do in terms of delivery." But Cllr Cooke said: "I won't be commenting on the other candi- dates."

Labour's Malcolm McKay came Dan is Labour hope

DANWilkinson, who grew up in Maidstone, is the Labour Party candidate for Maidstone South East. The 33-year-old works for cash management company Vaultex. He said: “I grew up and at- tended school in Maidstone, so is- sues such as homelessness and cuts to public services are of grave con- cern to me. “I am a founder member of Maidstone Residents Against Homelessness. I also campaigned against the closure of the Dorothy

Lucy dementia respite centre.” A Labour spokesman said: “We

are targeting two areas: Maidstone South East with Dan Wilkinson and Maidstone Central where Labour's only two councillors on Maidstone Borough Council are standing. “Labour priorities are social care, education and to encourage a co- ordinated public transport system with a view to achieving a modal shiftaway from car dependency to sustainablewalking, cycling, buses trains and car sharing.”


LABOUR Maidstone central – Paul Harper & Keith Adkinson Maidstone south east – Dan Wilkinson Maidstone south – Patrick Coates Maidstone north east – Joanna Burns Maidstone ruralwest – Richard Coates Maidstone rural south –Marlyn Randall Maidstone rural east –Malcolm McKay Maidstone rural north – Tim Licence

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT Maidstone central – Rob Bird and Dan Daley Maidstone north east – Ian Chittenden Maidstone south – Brian Clark Maidstone rural east – TBC Maidstone rural north –Martin Cox Maidstone rural south – Derek Mortimer

36 Maidstone April 2017

Maidstone south east – David Naghi Maidstone ruralwest – Brian Mortimer

CONSERVATIVE Maidstone central – Alan Bartlett and Graham Jarvis

Maidstone north east – Cheryl Taylor-Maggio Maidstone south – Paul Cooper Maidstone rural east – Shellina Prendergast Maidstone rural north – Paul Carter Maidstone rural south – Eric Hotson Maidstone south east – Gary Cooke Maidstone ruralwest – Paulina Stockell GREEN

Maidstone central – Stuart Jeffery Maidstone central – Donna Greenan Maidstone north East – Belinda Bassett

Maidstone rural east – Derek Eagle Maidstone rural north – Ciaran Oliver Maidstone rural south – Caroline Jessell Maidstone ruralwest – Geoff Wilkinson Maidstopne south – Ian McDonald Maidstone south east – Steve Cheeseman


Maidstone central (one candidate) – PamWatts Maidstone north east –Mick Goddard Maidstone rural east –Mark McGiffin Maidstone rural north – Gordon Newton Maidstone rural south –Martin Lack Maidstone south east – Eddie Powell Maidstone ruralwest – john Barned Maidstone south –Mike Hogg

cult task to unseatKCCleader Paul Carter, who sits on a majority of more than 600. Shepway borough councillor John Barned represents Ukip in the true blue heartlands of Maidstone ruralwest, where sitting councillor Paulina Stockell has a majority of more than 500. One seasoned Tory observer said:

“The Ukip vote will collpase like a souffle and they’ll be lucky to win a handful in Kent compared to the 17 last time. After Brexit, there is no need for Ukip any more, especially with our stance on the subject.”

Greer is mayor

BOXLEY Conservative councillor Malcolm Greer is to be Maid- stone’s next town mayor.

Borough coun-

cillor Greer will take over from Cllr Derek But- ler, a fellow Box- ley member. Liberal Demo- David


Naghi will act as deputy mayor

for the 2017-18 civic year. The outgoing incumbent will officially step down at a mayor making ceremony in May at the town hall.

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