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Clifton Ward By-election: Runners and Riders

Clifton By-Election 2015Whilst everyone is busy thinking about and organising themselves for Christmas, spare a thought for the intrepid few who are pounding the streets of Lytham  to battle it out to become a Fylde Borough Councillor for Clifton Ward.

They have already had to get leaflets designed and printed and have either delivered them themselves or pressed friends or party workers or supporters into doing so. Now, at the eleventh hour, they have the final push to get their names known and into the minds of the Clifton Ward electorate in the hope that they will be supported in their quest.

If, as some say, Lytham St Annes is 'Gods Waiting Room', then demographically speaking, Clifton Ward must be at the front of the queue there. 

It is the archetypal Lytham St Annes ward, full of  archetypal Lytham St Annes voters with an outlook that is both small and large "c" conservative, traditional, reserved and upmarket, it is full of retired professionals and wealthy individuals. It has the oldest age profile of any ward in Fylde (which itself has a higher age profile than any other borough in Lancashire).

It's also quite compact which makes it easy to canvas, but they're a very particular lot and, overall, are well set in their ways, so it will be hard work for non-conservatives to break through. Nonetheless, several intrepid contestants have lined up as the runners and riders for the Clifton Ward By-election and have now been declared.

The election is on 10th December and there are five contenders. As usual we'll give our readers and outline of what we know about each of them. They are:

PETER ANTHONY
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Standing as a candidate for the Conservative party and strongly supported by them, he was also one of the 19 Conservatives supported and funded by the LGBTory group when he stood for election to Parliament in Blackpool South in the 2015 General Election. 

The literature he sent out for Clifton shows, as you might expect, a very professional job with a good balance of local and national issues, and lots of photos of him around and about the area with other well known faces.

We understand he is a singer and entertainer with property in Blackpool and is part owner of 'Antons' cafe and delicatessen in St Annes alongside actor Paul Lomax. He's obviously keen to break into local politics, though we wonder whether his real heart lies in Government rather than in the Council.

LUKE GIBBON
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Standing for the Liberal Democrats has been in Fylde since 2011 and works in Human Resources with BAe. His first election leaflet found its way to us and seemed to be mostly focussed on the party political slant rather than on local issues, but he did mention the Christmas Tree collections that the Lib Dems undertake in the coastal area, and was critical of the Fylde Conservatives for increasing their allowances.

Lib Dems are still struggling from being part of the coalition with the Conservatives and we're not at all sure those memories are distant enough to avoid affecting his chances here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOREEN GRIFFITHS
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Became a member of Freckleton Parish Council at last May's elections, and now standing as an Independent candidate for the Borough Council's Clifton Ward. She has some impressive credentials in terms of nominees  - including former councillors Ken Hopwood,  and Charlie Duffy, together with Cath Powell and Emma Duffy. These are folk who are well plugged in to the social scene in Lytham and their support will carry some weight.

We know her a little from her connections to the anti-fracking movement, but we have also seen some of the work she has done to research and expose dubious practice in other areas of life. She gets her teeth into issues and is able to get a grasp of the detail that often brings success in a local council.

Sooner or later we expect to see her as a member of Fylde Borough Council.

JED SULLIVAN
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Is standing for Labour, having also - like Peter Anthony - stood to become a Member of Parliament (though in his case for Fylde) in the elections last May. He has lived in Fylde for 20 years and works as a youth and community worker, helping to support young people and communities across the Fylde coast.

He describes himself as a Labour party activist and trade unionist. He also stood for FBC in Kirkham South last May where he came third.

As we often say, Fylde is a difficult place for Labour to win seats, and it's usually an exceptional individual that manages to do so. Clifton - at the head of the queue in Gods Waiting Room - is probably one of the more difficult for Labour to win.

TIM WOOD
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Stood in Central Ward St Annes last May as one of three UKIP candidates standing in the same ward. We thought that was odd at the time, but it did enough damage to the Conservative vote to cause the loss of one Conservative councillor in that ward and helped clear a path for labour's Jan Baker to become elected.

He previously stood in St John's Ward in Lytham and lives locally, so perhaps he has a good chance because of that.

He's also being supported by poll-topping ratepayer Councillor Mark Bamforth and that will carry some weight.

UKIP generally do well in resort areas, but seem to struggle in Lytham St Annes where, perhaps the demographic profile is a bit different than in resorts that are less affluent.

Within a couple of days, we will have a new councillor for Clifton Ward in Lytham. Given the polish and resourcing of the Conservative machine; the fact that the former incumbent was a Conservative, and considering the demographic profile of the ward, the sensible money must be on Mr Anthony.

He's probably also helped by the five-way spilt of what might be called the 'non-conservative vote' amongst the other candidates, so again we expect him to do well.

But stranger things have happened.......

Dated:   8 December 2015


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