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Bexley gears up for elections with massive Tory majority on the line
Bexley is gearing up for its first council election since 2010 after four years with a massive Conservative majority.
The Tories have governed with 52 councillors to Labour’s 11, with the opposition’s strength concentrated in the north of the borough.
The rest of Bexley has remained true Tory blue and council leader Councillor Teresa O’Neill wants to keep it that way.
She told News Shopper: "We are hoping for a complete whiteout win, taking every seat in the borough.
“Freezing council tax and the inward investment that’s gone into Bexley are things we’ve done that have resonated with people.
“We are not making anything up – what we are saying is what we are doing. “We have shown we are capable, we have shown we are trustworthy and we want to carry on.”
Last time out the Tories recorded another strong showing, losing only two seats from their total in 2006, when they swept back into power after four years of Labour rule.
Among nine Conservative councillors standing down at this election deputy leader Coun Colin Campbell and cabinet member for children’s services Coun Katie Perrior.
Labour are confident they can retain their seats in Thamesmead East, Belvedere, Erith and North End and make inroads further south.
Current Belvedere councillor and candidate Sean Newman said: "We want to take control of the council, which we did in 2002.
"We are hoping to take most of the seats north of the A2 and we have got a really good campaign being fought in Barnehurst, Longlands and Cray Meadows.
"The Tories aren’t going to get any of the protest votes they got in 2006 and 2010 so they will end up relying on their core vote which isn’t coming out for them."
Labour leader Chris Ball is standing down, along with Erith councillor Margaret O’Neill and Thamesmead East representatives Sandra Nauer and Harry Persaud.
The council is currently in the process of vacating the Civic Offices in Bexleyheath and moving just down the road to the Woolwich Building.
With both main parties fielding the full three candidates in Bexley’s 21 wards, the best hope of breaking their stranglehold appears to be UKIP.
They are fielding 19 candidates, including a full three in Barnehurst and two in East Wickham.
The party will also be hoping to do well in the elections to the European Parliament taking place the same day as the local elections on May 22.
Eight members from the London region will be returned to Strasbourg, with UKIP fielding a full eight candidates. If you are not already registered to vote you will now not be able to do so, unless you are applying for someone else to vote for you.
In that case the application must reach returning officer Will Tuckley at the Bexleyheath Civic Offices by 5pm on Wednesday (May 14).
If you are registered you should have received a poll card telling you where and when you can vote on May 22.
In the local elections voters can vote for up to three candidates in their ward and a full list of polling stations is available at bexley.gov.uk
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