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Labour councillor warns voting for “minority parties like the Lib Dems or Greens” in Lichfield District Council elections could hand victory to Conservatives rather than create change

A Lichfield Labour councillor has warned residents that voting for candidates from “minority parties like the Lib Dems and Greens” could hand victory to the Conservatives.

Cllr Colin Ball

Cllr Colin Ball’s comments come after an independent candidate said Lichfield District Council would only be able to change if voters opted for alternative elected representatives.

Joanne Grange, a former Tory councillor who will now stand as an independent, said residents should not expect the current controlling group to fix some of the issues facing the area, such as the expensive Friarsgate failure.

But Cllr Colin Ball, who will again stand in the Curborough ward at the local elections in May, warned residents needed to think carefully about how a new-look council could be achieved.

“If people do want real change for the better, their vote needs to go with Labour,” he said.

“The great risk in local elections, with our first past the post system, is that a vote for minority parties like the Lib Dems or Greens, noble though they may well be, means that you end up with a Tory councillor, rather than a Labour one – and I can’t think why anyone would want that after the brown bin tax, the Friarsgate fiasco and record council tax increases, to name but three issues.”

Cllr Ball said residents needed to ask questions of the role potential councillors have played on fighting for their areas.

“I didn’t see any Lib Dems at the school gates gathering signatures in our campaign to stop the Tories ending school crossing patrols,” he said.

“The small, but highly effective, Labour group on Lichfield District Council have raised more fuss about genuinely affordable housing, protecting the green belt, Garrick Theatre funding than the Lib Dems ever have.”

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  1. Joanne Grange

    4th April, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    I suspect what will have a bigger impact in handing victory to the Conservatives is the failure to put up candidates. From this afternoon’s candidate listing there are already 7 Tory councillors that have been “won” uncontested seats. By failing to oppose all seats the Lib Dems and Labour have given the blue team a 7 seat head start!

  2. Philip John

    4th April, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    What this amounts to is “only a vote for our party will do X”. What a sad and offensive way to treat the electorate. It’s even worse when you consider this is coming from a local party that has so spectacularly failed to garner local support that it’s allowed 7 council seats have been filled by default by the current ruling party, and denied thousands of local people in those wards their opportunity to exercise their democratic right.

    Party politics is a joke.

  3. AnnS

    5th April, 2019 at 7:53 am

    Can the Lab/LibDem or whoever explain why they allowed this to happen when in some wards there are 2 or 3 candidates standing from these party’s. They must have known that no one was standing from their party in these 7 wards. So why not move someone to stand elsewhere? Very obviously I don’t understand the local system.

  4. Cllr Sue Woodward

    5th April, 2019 at 11:23 am

    AnnS, most wards in the LDC area have two or three seats, hence multiple candidates for a number of parties in each of these areas. I can’t speak for the whole of my local Party (Labour), but our candidates go through a rigorous interview and selection process, give their preferences for the wards where they would like to stand and are then selected by local members. There are some areas where no expressions of interest are received. Rather than putting up stooge candidates – otherwise known as “paper” candidates – some wards, regrettably, don’t have Labour candidates but nor do they have candidates from other parties or none, truly local independents. (Too easy to blame others, Joanne.) That is sad as, in my view, local democracy is very important but it’s understandable in many ways why people don’t want to put their head above the parapet, especially in the hostile and febrile political atmosphere at the moment. Besides, we know what happens when people who put themselves forward as “paper” candidates but get elected anyway: they don’t put their hearts, time and effort into the role that they should. Viz LDC and Burntwood Town Council over the last 4 years.

  5. C Cole

    5th April, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Instead of coming out with this nonsense please explain why labour hasn’t bothered to put up a candidate in every ward. You don’t have to live in the ward you represent so what is the excuse?

  6. AnnS

    5th April, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    Many thanks for the explanation Sue. Maybe the systems needs an overall. My ward has 3 seats but I don’t see why this is necessary. Such a pity that the electorates in the wards that have had a Cllr elected by default are not going to get an opportunity to exercise their democratic right to vote.

  7. Colin Ball

    5th April, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    As Sue Woodward said, it’s not that we didn’t want or choose to have Labour candidates in every Ward. We would have loved to, if enough of our local members had been prepared to put their heads above the parapet. I can understand why many didn’t, as I’ve had to grow a much thicker skin since I was elected for Labour in the Curborough By-Election last summer. In any event, we still have a fair few candidates and I hope many more get elected than before. Then, even if we fall short of taking control of the Councils this time round, we can certainly continue to hold the Tories to account for their dreadful handling of their self-created Friarsgate fiasco and much else beside!

    Colin Ball – Lichfield City and District Councillor for Curborough.

  8. Joanne Grange

    5th April, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    No blame being attributed Sue, just pulling up Colin on his comment re votes for “minority parties” resulting in Tory councillors and votes for Labour being the only way to deliver change.