East of the M60‘s preview of 2019’s local elections

Yes, folks, it is that time again: local election time. At this time of writing, one of two elections taking place this month. The other elections are the European Elections which the Tories have tried to wriggle out of due to their Brexit negotiations.

In the last month, the rise of independent parties have generated column inches. The Manchester Evening News has looked at hyper-local independent parties in Radcliffe, Kearsley, Farnworth, and Stalybridge. In a series of articles by Jennifer Williams, it has been dubbed as a local version of Brexit. In Stalybridge terms, ‘Bridgexit.

Ms. Williams’ reporting was picked up by Sam Coates, The Times‘ Political Correspondent. Most of Coates’ article picked up on the Stalybridge Town Party who are fielding candidates in Dukinfield Stalybridge and Stalybridge North wards. In Stalybridge South, an Independent candidate will be standing: Jennifer Brayne, previously of the Stalybridge Town Party last year.

Whatever your political hue, it is safe to say that 2019’s local elections wont be the same without John Bell. Hyde Werneth’s Conservative councillor is standing down after 43 years. His successor could be Paul Molloy, the Conservative candidate, or Labour candidate Shibley Alam. Whether Hyde Werneth would like to return a Conservative or Labour councillor remains to be seen. Also standing down is Labour councillor Gillian Peet in the Longdendale ward.

Wards contested, by party:

  • Labour (including Labour Co-op): 19;
  • The Green Party of England and Wales: 18;
  • Conservative Party: 19;
  • United Kingdom Independence Party: 5;
  • Stalybridge Town Party: 2;
  • Independent candidates: 3;
  • Liberal Democrats: 5;
  • Democrats and Veterans’ Party: 1;
  • The Official Monster Raving Loony Party: 1.

*                               *                              *

Candidates

* Denotes sitting candidate.

Ashton Hurst

  • Mike Glover*, Labour Party;
  • Therese Costello, Conservative Party;
  • Lorraine Whitehead, Green Party.

Ashton St. Michael’s

  • Yvonne Cartey*, Labour Party;
  • Karen Brooks, Conservative Party;
  • Philip Blakeney, Green Party.

Ashton Waterloo

  • Jean Drennan, Labour Party;
  • Irene Marsh, Conservative Party;
  • Lee Huntbach, Green Party.

Audenshaw

  • Charlotte Martin, Labour Party;
  • Danny Mather, Conservative Party;
  • Peter Harris, United Kingdom Independence Party.

Denton North East

  • Alison Gwynne*, Labour Party;
  • Dawn Lesley Cobb, Conservative Party;
  • Benjamin Hart, Green Party.

Denton South

  • Jack Naylor, Labour Party;
  • Aimee Lumley, Conservative Party;
  • F’Tang F’Tang Farming Lord Dave, The Official Monster Raving Loony Party;
  • Jean Smee, Green Party.

Denton West

  • Brenda Warrington*, Labour Party;
  • Thomas Dunne, Conservative Party;
  • Daniel Spence, Green Party.

Droylsden East

  • Laura Boyle*, Labour Party;
  • Matthew Stevenson, Conservative Party;
  • Hannah Smee, Green Party.

Droylsden West

  • Ann Holland*, Labour Party;
  • Dot Buckley, Conservative Party;
  • Annie Train, Green Party;
  • Maurice Jackson, United Kingdom Independence Party.

Dukinfield

  • John Taylor*, Labour Party;
  • Lucy Turner, Conservative Party;
  • Julie Wood, Green Party.

Dukinfield Stalybridge

  • David Sweeton*, Labour Party;
  • Dave McGovern, Stalybridge Town Party;
  • Dave Tate, Independent;
  • Les Browning, Conservative Party;
  • Linda Freeman, Green Party.

Hyde Godley

  • Betty Affleck*, Labour Party;
  • Andrea Colbourne, Conservative Party;
  • Alice Mason-Power, Liberal Democrats;
  • Dawn Sheridan, United Kingdom Independence Party;
  • Keith Whitehead, Green Party.

Hyde Newton

  • Helen Bowden*, Labour Party;
  • Michael Gibbins, Conservative Party;
  • Peter Ball-Foster, Liberal Democrats;
  • Michael Baker, Green Party.

Hyde Werneth

  • Paul Molloy, Conservative Party;
  • Shibley Alam, Labour Party;
  • Ian Robinson, Green Party;
  • Richard O’Brien, Liberal Democrats.

Longdendale

  • Jacqueline Owen, Labour Party;
  • Graham Doherty, Democrats and Veterans’ Party;
  • Ben Frost, Conservative Party;
  • Irene Brierley, Green Party;
  • Lynn Thompson, Liberal Democrats.

Mossley

  • Taf Sharif*, Labour Party;
  • Dean Aylett, Independent;
  • Ben Frost, Conservative Party;
  • Christine Clark, Green Party.

St. Peters

  • David McNally*, Labour Party;
  • Matt Allen, Conservative Party;
  • Trevor Clarke, Green Party.

Stalybridge North

  • Adrian Pearce*, Labour Party;
  • David Tilbrook, Conservative Party;
  • Lee Stafford, Stalybridge Town Party;
  • Josh Hughes, United Kingdom Independence Party;
  • David Fernley, Green Party.

Stalybridge South

  • Clive Patrick*, Conservative Party;
  • Hugh Roderick, Labour Party;
  • Jennifer Brayne, Independent;
  • Kerri Luke, United Kingdom Independence Party;
  • Amanda Hickling, Green Party.

*                               *                              *

Wards to watch

Further to Jennifer Williams’ series of articles in the Manchester Evening News, all three Stalybridge wards will be of great interest. Not only with our local newspapers but also regional and national papers. With three Daves standing in the Dukinfield Stalybridge ward, it would be interesting to see which Dave would emerge victorious.

Dave 1 (Sweeton) is the sitting Labour Party councillor, whereas Dave 2 (Tate) has moved from the Stalybridge Town Party to becoming an Independent candidate. His place has been taken by Dave 3 (McGovern).

Stalybridge South ward, which covers Stalyhill and Carrbrook (and is more northerly than Stalybridge North!) could see Clive Patrick retaining his ward. Could independent candidate Jennifer Brayne hold her own – or improve on her vote – from last year?

Hyde Werneth could also be one to watch, being the former ward of John Bell. Labour Party candidate Shibley Alam has been working hard in her campaign, backing the case for bus franchising and improved services in Backbower.

Burning issues?

Besides the state of bus services and backing for franchised routes, it is easy to say “business as usual” or “same old…”, but all eyes may be focused on Stalybridge.

Both supporters of the Stalybridge Town Party and the independent candidates in Dukinfield Stalybridge and Stalybridge South wards are passionate about their town. They claim that the town has seen the sale of its assets with nothing in return. Stalybridge North candidate Lee Stafford claims that Tameside MBC’s Strategic Neighbourhood Forums lack the effectiveness that its District Assemblies had.

As well as the usual local issues (bins, lighting, potholes), the opening (or more precisely), the reopening of Victoria Market Hall is a major one. The retention of green belt land is another, and both these views are shared by the local Conservative Party.

Next up…

The all-important local election results. Unless you have already made a postal vote, polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm. Please arrive as early as you can.

S.V., 01 May 2019.

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