‘I don’t think there’s going to be a political earthquake’

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The make-up of Preston Council could shift next week as voters go to the polls.

Elections will be held for one third of the council seats, in all but four wards across the city.

In College ward, Moor Park ward and University ward there will be no vote for local councillors this year, while the seat in St George’s ward is uncontested, meaning there will be no local election and Labour councillor Anis Faruki is returned uncontested.

Incumbent candidates across Preston will by fighting to hold on to their seats, with opposition councillors vying to win new areas.

Three councillors are to stand down this year, leaving three seats where parties will be looking to hold on or make gains.

In Ashton, Labour councillor Elizabeth Atkins has announced she will not re-stand.

The last four years has been the first time labour councillors held both seats in the ward, which had previously had at least one Conservative councillor, making the area a key battleground.

Standing to try to win the seat will be Conservative candidate Michael Balshaw, Green candidate Alasdair Bremner, Liberal Democrat candidate Mark Jewell, UKIP candidate Graeme Moitie and Labour’s Angela Vodden.

Deepdale Independent councillor Terry Cartwright has also announced his is to step down, after 26 years’ service.

His seat will be contested by Conservative candidate Jonathan Campbell, UKIP candidate Derek Killeen, and Labour candidate Lynne Wallace.

And Coun Veronica Afrin, who has served on the council for 37 years, will not be re-standing in St Matthew’s ward.

Vying for her former seat will be Labour candidate Jade Morgan, and Conservative candidate James Shuttleworth.

Across the city, there will be 18 seats up for grabs.

The wards where local elections are to be held are Ashton, Brookfield, Cadley, Deepdale, Fishwick, Garrison, Greyfriars, Ingol, Larches, Lea, Preston Rural East, Preston Rural North, Ribbleton, Riversway, Sharoe Green, St Matthew’s, Town Centre and Tulketh.

Labour will be fielding 18 candidates, as well as Coun Anis Faruki, who has been returned uncontested to his seat in St George’s, because nobody stood against him.

The Conservative Party is fielding 18 candidates, the Liberal Democrats have 11 candidates, The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has 10, while the Green Party is fielding three candidates.

The council in Preston is currently made up of 32 Labour councillors, 19 Conservative councillors, five Liberal Democrat Councillors, and one Deepdale Independent.

Professor David Denver, emeritus professor of politics at Lancaster University and elections expert, said there was unlikely to be any major change in the shape of Preston Council.

He said: “One of the things about the places which have annual elections is that change is very slow.

“Because there is only one third each time, it is hard to throw the lot out, whereas with all-in elections that can happen.

“If you had asked me six weeks ago, I would have said Labour were due to get a hammering all over the country.

“Mainly because they are not making much impact, and Jeremy Corbyn is not the most popular leader Labour has ever had.

“But, since then, we’ve had yet another budget that’s been pretty disastrous for the Tories, so the result is it’s much less obvious what will happen.”

He said, however, that he thought it was likely that Labour would lose “a bit”, nationally.

He said: “The people who are up for election now were last elected in 2012, and that was just after what came to be called the ‘omnishambles budget’, with the pasty tax and the granny tax and the Tories were very unpopular because of that.

“Now they are not as popular as they were six weeks ago, but they are still more or less in the lead with Labour, and certainly better than four years ago.

“A big unknown is UKIP, it’s a bit of an unknown quantity, particularly with the referendum campaign - that might give them a bit of a lift.

“I rather like the fact elections are unpredictable, and these are not nearly as predictable as they would have been six weeks ago.”

However, Professor Denver said any major change was unlikely at Preston Council.

He said: “I certainly know some of the Labour wards are rock solid, and it’s going to take an earthquake to move them.

“National trends have to be interpreted carefully when you’re applying them to particular localities.”

He said Preston had a large Labour majority, and said: “In order to turn things around, it would really require an earthquake and I don’t think there’s going to be a political earthquake.

“I would still think it should still be a bit better for the Conservatives.

“Four years ago the Conservatives were in a terrible state, and now they are in a bit of a better state, even though they are not that popular.”

Aside from the local council elections, there will be elections across Lancashire to choose a Police and Crime Commissioner for the county.

Below is a list of candidates who will be standing in the Preston Council elections:

Ashton

Michael Arthur BALSHAW - Conservative Party

Alasdair David BREMNER - Green Party Stop Fracking Now

Mark George JEWELL - Liberal Democrats

Graeme MOITIE - UK Independence Party

Angela VODDEN - Labour Party

Brookfield

Daryl BAMBER - Conservative Party

Philip Edward CORKER - Labour Party

Neil GRAHAM - UK Independence Party(UKIP)

Cadley

Royston BANKS - UK Independence Party(UKIP)

John POTTER - Liberal Democrats

Suleman SARWAR - Labour Party

Jim WITHERINGTON - The Conservative Party

Deepdale

Jonathan CAMPBELL - Conservative Party

Derek KILLEEN - UK Independence Party

Lynne WALLACE - Labour Party

Fishwick

Emma FIELDING - Conservative Party

Martyn Andrew RAWLINSON - Labour Party

Garrison

Stuart Robert GREENHALGH - Conservative Party

Nweeda KHAN - Labour Party

Hans VOGES - Liberal Democrats

Greyfriars

Claire CRAVEN - Liberal Democrats

Damien MOORE - The Conservative Party

John WILSON - Labour Party

Ingol

Kieran ASPDEN - UK Independence Party

Pauline Mary BROWN - Liberal Democrats

John ROCHFORD - Labour Party

Anthony SMITH - Conservative Party

Larches

Alice BUCHANAN - Conservative Party

David John CALLAGHAN - Liberal Democrats

David Martin DAWSON - UK Independence Party(UKIP)

Mark YATES - Labour Party

Lea

Trevor Michael HART - Conservative Party

Mark Bernard KINGSLEY - UK Independence Party

Rebecca POTTER - Liberal Democrats

Samir VOHRA - Labour Party

Preston Rural East

Tom DAVIES - The Conservative Party

Stephen Andrew SMITH - Labour Party

Preston Rural North

Robert James CROSS - Labour Party

Lona SMITH - The Conservative Party Candidate

Alex WARREN - Liberal Democrats

Ribbleton

Robert Charles ASH - Liberal Democrats

Anthony James HELPS - UK Independence Party

Stephen KAY - The Conservative Party

Nicholas William POMFRET - Labour Party

Riversway

Victoria BAMBER - Conservative Party

Linda CROMPTON - Labour Party

Alex WALKER - Green Party

Maureen WATT - UK Independence Party

Sharoe Green

Helen DISLEY - Green Party

Jonathan James GRISDALE - Labour Party

Greg VICKERS - Liberal Democrats

David WALKER - Conservative Party Candidate

St. Matthew`s

Jade Marie MORGAN - Labour Party

James SHUTTLEWORTH - Conservative Party

Town Centre

Drew GALE - Labour Party

Matthew HARGREAVES - Conservative Party

Tulketh

Matthew John BROWN - Labour Party

Edward CRAVEN - Liberal Democrats

Bowen PERRYMAN - Conservative Party

Andrew John WATT - UK Independence Party (UKIP)