Councillor wins seat after nobody stands against him

Anis Faruki
Anis Faruki
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A Labour councillor has walked into another term of serving his ward - after nobody contested his seat.

Anis Faruki, who represents St George’s ward on Preston Council, was set to stand in May’s election, but has now won back his position by default.

No other party fielded a candidate in the area, meaning he was elected unopposed to serve the community again.

Coun Faruki, who has been on the council since 2012, said it was a “pleasant surprise” when he found out the seat was uncontested.

He said: “Rules are rules at the end of the day, and I don’t make the rules.

“In 2012 I won with a big majority and I’ve been working hard since then.

“The only sad thing is people won’t be able to exercise their rights.”

He said he had been told the last time there was an uncontested seat in Preston was up to 25 years ago, in a rural area.

He said: “I’ll still be going around and leafleting, I don’t want to look arrogant like I’ve won now and I don’t need to speak to people.

“I’ll be helping other candidates.”

Coun Daniel Dewhurst, chairman of Preston Conservative Association, said: “There will not be a eighteenth Conservative candidate in St. George’s Ward due to an administration error.

“It was deemed that one nominating constituent was no longer on the electoral register.”

He said there was an “unnecessary” number of elections in Preston per year, and suggested elections should be moved to every four years.

Coun John Potter, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats group, said: “It is regrettable that we have a uncontested council ward election in Preston but due to unforeseen circumstances our chosen candidate was no longer able to stand and we were unable to find a replacement in time.”

He said councils struggled to encourage and retain candidates and councillors in full-time employment, and has submitted a notice to the next full council meeting calling on the council to consider moving meetings into the evenings.

A UKIP spokesman said: “We decided to put our candidates where they have the greatest chance of success.”