A ‘concrete piling,’ qualified female electrician, sports journalist, nurses, radio DJs and a 24-year-old entrepreneur are among the candidates who will be fighting to be elected to Thanet council this May.
The elections on May 2 will poll for the 56 seats on the local authority which is currently led by a Conservative minority administration. The count for the polls will take place at the Winter Gardens the following day.
Last time Thanet went to the local election polls was in 2015 when a landslide victory, 33 of the 56 seats, resulted in the isle voting in the country’s first UKIP council.
This time around the party has just two of the currently elected members standing for re-election with one other candidate polling for the party.
Following its 2015 victory the group suffered defections and resignations, including an en-masse withdrawal of 12 UKIP members last year who formed the Thanet Independent Councillors group in protest at the administration’s stance on the future of the Manston airport site.
The rebel 12 became Thanet Independent Councillors, ditching the UKIP label altogether, leaving just 13 UKIPs at TDC.
At the end of February last year council and Thanet UKIP Party boss Chris Wells resigned from his role as authority leader in the wake of the Manston row. Conservatives took the helm of a minority lead council with Kingsgate councillor Bob Bayford taking the leader’s position.
UKIP’s currently serving councillors who will stand again for the party are Terry Connor, who currently represents Sir Moses Montefiore ward, and a late nomination from Derek Crow-Brown who represents Thanet villages. All others, including party leader Chris Wells, will be stepping down. Another candidate has been named as Paul Weller.
Labour’s Iris Johnston, who served on the authority for a whopping 24 years, Beacon ward’s Jenny Matterface and Michelle Fenner, who was councillor for Sir Moses Montefiore ward, are also stepping down.
Independent Bill Hayton is also stepping down, as is villages Independent Bob Groves who joined forces with UKIP to create a coalition last year.
Former Conservative county councillor Paul Messenger was forced to withdraw his attempt to be nominated for district council after the party suspended him over Islamophobic posts on facebook.
The party is carrying out an investigation following complaints about the post and has removed Cllr Messenger from the party at county level.
However it has now emerged that he will be standing as an Independent for Sir Moses Montefiore ward.
Independent Pleasurama ‘concrete piling protester’ Gary Perkins is among fresh candidates taking to the polls this year. Controversial Birchington councillor Suzanne Brimm will also stand again.
The full list of candidates will be published on The Isle of Thanet News after nominations close tomorrow (April 4).