Big swing would be needed to unseat ruling Tories from St Albans and Harpenden councils

Pip Martyn, John Hansen, Anne James and Paul Howe

Pip Martyn, John Hansen, Anne James and Paul Howe - Credit: Archant

Election day on May 7 will not just be about the future shape of government.

At the same time as voters go to the polling stations to choose their new MP, one-third of St Albans council seats will also be up for grabs.

There is currently no one party in control of the council although the Conservatives are the largest single group with 28 councillors.

The Lib Dems have 17 councillors with Labour 10, two Independents and a Green.

The three main parties are contesting every one of the 20 seats with 17 Green candidates, 12 from UKIP, four Independents and a Trades Unionist and Socialists against Cuts contender.

While there is traditionally a larger turnout when a General Election and local council elections are held at the same time, it would require a large swing against the Tories for them not to remain the largest single party but the other two main parties will be hoping they can erode their numbers.

Among the candidates standing this year are former Lib Dem council leader Robert Donald in Cunningham ward and Labour group leader Martin Leach and his deputy Jacob Quagliozzi in Batchwood and London Colney respectively.

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Two current county councillors, Maxine Crawley (Con) and Geoff Churchard (Lib Dem), are seeking re-election to the district council in Redbourn and Marshalswick North respectively.

The Harpenden Independent Partnership, a residents’ group, is contesting three seats in the four Harpenden wards as well as all four seats on Harpenden town council’s east ward.

Pip Martyn is contesting Harpenden East on the district council, John Hansen, Harpenden South and Paul Howe, Harpenden West.

Pip said: “The total number of votes cast for Harpenden’s independent candidates last year confirmed there is dissatisfaction with party politics at local levels.

“I feel public opinion is now even more in our favour and there is a realisation that only independent councillors can deliver and transparent governance.”

John Hansen added: “As independent councillors we would have no party political whip directing how we vote.We can base our decisions on residents’ wishes, common sense and regard to the facts instead of simply having to toe the party line.

Also standing as an Independent in Harpenden North ward is former Town Mayor John Chambers.