Candidates get set for battle
CANDIDATES running for the Saffron Walden seat in the Essex County Council elections are preparing for what could be one of the closest battles in years. The seat is currently held by Conservative candidate Cllr Robert Chambers who admitted that the furor
CANDIDATES running for the Saffron Walden seat in the Essex County Council elections are preparing for what could be one of the closest battles in years.
The seat is currently held by Conservative candidate Cllr Robert Chambers who admitted that the furore caused by MPs' expenses has thrown the contest wide open.
"It's all that anyone wants to talk about," said Cllr Chambers who aims to knock on 8000 doors in the run-up to polling day tomorrow Thursday (June 4).
The Tory councillor has held on to the seat for the past 12 years, but said he was "always concerned with the competition" which this year includes the far-right British National Party (BNP).
"The promise I can give to people is that I'm always available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and I will always try to help," he said.
Liberal Democrat candidate Richard Freeman hopes to bring the Tory's long-term run to an end and said: "I wouldn't be standing if I didn't think I could win."
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Traditionally county council elections have not had a high turn out on polling day and Cllr Freeman does not want people to be put off from voting by what is happening in Westminster, adding: "Democracy only works if you use it".
Trilby Roberts, who is standing for the Green Party, believes the expenses row could give her a real chance in the election.
"This is traditionally a Tory area, but because of the recent scandal people are horrified at the state of Parliament," she said. "The Greens are not tarnished with this brush and it will definitely benefit us."
As for concerns that some of the protest votes could be taken by the BNP, she said: "For the Greens it's all about being local and I think people will appreciate this. The BNP have shipped candidates in from Loughton."
Regional organiser for the BNP, Eddie Butler, said: "A BNP councillor, wherever they live and work, will always more closely represent the views of local people."
Labour struggle to find votes in Saffron Walden, but candidate Yvonne Morton is expecting to make significant inroads.
"The Tories are not that popular because what has been going on in Parliament," she said. "People are disgruntled and it may change how they vote."
Polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm. For more information visit www.essex.gov.uk