Thanet district election: Party and Independents overview

Election time

A  ‘concrete piling,’ an electrician, sports journalist, nurses, radio DJs and a 21-year-old entrepreneur are among the candidates who will be fighting to be elected to Thanet council this week.

The elections on May 2 will poll for the 56 seats on the local authority which is currently led by a Conservative minority administration.

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.

But 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 led council with Kingsgate councillor Bob Bayford taking the leader’s position.

Just two of UKIP’s currently serving councillors will stand again for the party -Terry Connor, who currently represents Sir Moses Montefiore ward and Derek Crow-Brown for the villages. All others, including party leader Chris Wells, will be stepping down. Newcomer Paul Weller is also standing for UKIP.

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.

Conservative county councillor Paul Messenger, who was forced out of the Conservative Party over Islamophobic posts on facebook, is standing as an Independent.

Thanet Independent Councillors say:

The TIC group has added new members to its party. Peter Cook and Philip Cutler, formerly of Independent Democrats, will now poll on behalf of the group.

Group leader Cllr Rev Stuart Piper said: “There is no place for party politics in Local Government  

We have been officially recognised by the Electoral Commission and registered as a political party for the purpose of enabling candidates to represent local people on local issues in elections in the district of Thanet.

For many years successive administrations have focused too much on national party interests and it has often been to the detriment of local residents.

Thanet Independents has been working hard as a group of committed local representatives since January 2018 when we forced the UKIP administration to stand aside because they were not even attempting to keep their main manifesto pledges. Many residents felt betrayed by them and tough decisions had to be made.

We believe it is time to take tribal politics out of Thanet District Council.

We will insist on open and transparent local government and not play fast and loose with our pledges to you.

We will challenge the West Kent Boys Club at KCC at every opportunity on the condition of our highways and many other local issues.  

Local Government funding from central government is being reduced to zero by 2020/1 across the UK by the Austerity Party and it seems that areas like ours will take the biggest hits.

Together we can make Thanet Independent.”

Labour say:

Labour Party candidates are pledging to review parking fees, waste collection and increase recycling.

The party manifesto says if they take control they propose to review all council spending, re-directing it, wherever possible to local suppliers that benefit the local community, boosting jobs and opportunities locally.

There would also be a feasibility study for Ramsgate Port, the creation of a business Cabinet post and attempts to curtail greenfield development.

There will also be reviews of TDC’s current £1.3 million/year expenditure on temporary housing  with plans to use the £7 million in the housing capital fund to solve the problems.

A party statement adds: “We’ll listen and respond to residents. We know how frustrating it can be trying to get hold of a councillor when you need one. We promise to be available, to be a listening ear and to act quickly to solve problems on your behalf.

“You’ll see us ‘out and about’, at our regular surgeries, involved in community action, from hands on litter picking to full on campaigning. We’ll be alongside you.

“At council we will be a formidable force for positive change. We’ll scrutinise all decisions, we’ll be open and transparent, and we will be accountable.

Our diverse candidates truly represent Thanet’s population; through our diversity we are united in our desire to enable everyone in Thanet to thrive.”

Conservative say:

Among the pledges from Conservative candidates are aims to see  a Margate Town Council established, backing for the return of Manston Airport to aviation use, continued support for the campaign to have a hyper-acute stroke unit at QEQM,  engaging with investors to promote the benefits of creating business in Thanet and protecting against overdevelopment.

Robert Jones, chairman of North Thanet Conservative Association, said candidates are already working hard meeting residents and finding out how they can help.

He said: “Our candidates are all local people who care passionately about Thanet and its wonderful communities. Because they live here, they know the issues that matter to residents and many of them have been campaigning to improve things for years.

“Together with our colleagues in South Thanet we will continue our fight to return freight traffic to Manston airport, and to support the local economy by encouraging tourism and supporting our valuable local businesses.

“Residents can be confident that a Conservative-run council will provide the services people need and want, while keeping council tax as low as possible.”

Liberal Democrats say:

Housing, clean streets, protecting green spaces, looking at new ways to balance the council budget and halting the asset sell-off all feature in the Liberal democrats manifesto.

They say: “As Liberal Democrats we are committed to making sure there are enough homes for everyone.  We want to build emergency housing for the homeless. We believe the council should be building council houses.

“The solution is to build high quality council houses with green energy technology making energy low cost or even zero cost.

“We will make sure that everyone has suitable rubbish bins including recyclying ones. We want to put an end to fly-tipping and believe charging to take rubbish to the tip, proposed by Conservatives, is likely to worsen not help this problem.  

“We want to protect our green spaces and improve cycle paths.  If we are to reduce car use to protect our air quality we need to improve cycle paths and public transport.  We need to find new ways of working. Lets not spend £3M on the council offices, lets get our priorities right, stop waste and spend wisely.

Selling off assets to plug a budget deficit is a short-term fix.  We want to look at how public assets can work for us. This could be by making money for the council that can be put back into services or by becoming a community asset for communities to use where communities look after each other.

Thanet Greens say:

Pledges from Green Party candidates include finding creative ways to address poverty, supporting small businesses, delegating greater powers to town and parish councils and improving street cleaning and recycling.

Another big concern is the environment and how to improve it at a local level.

Candidates say this can be done by  improving public transport and providing more walking and cycling opportunities and  improving waste services to make recycling easy, natural and automatic.

Aims include: “ Ensuring open, honest, straightforward decision-making at town and district levels, delegating more powers and funding to town and parish councils, i improving street cleaning, waste and recycling for a cleaner, greener town and exploring how councils can help address poverty, low aspiration and limited opportunities, particularly for our young people.”

A spokesman added: “Thanet Green Party is 100% opposed to the revival of aviation at Manston, which would create both air and noise pollution, threaten our reviving tourist industry and sadly not create many local jobs as so many airport processes are now automated.”

UKIP say:

Clean streets, regular bin and recycling collections and finding a solution for the deficit at ramsgate Port are on the manifesto list for UKIP.

Candidate Terry Connor says the marina village option could be looked at although it may exclude ordinary ‘working class’ people.

He added: “I would like to see more social housing and the hospital keeping its stroke unit. I also feel we could do a lot more with our open spaces, for example ramsgate FC want to move to Jackey Bakers and have a centre and facilities for children. I’d also like the free parking back at Leopold Street that Ramsgate Town Council were paying for until Thanet council put the price up.”

Women’s Equality Party say:

Kanndiss Riley, 24, will be standing for the Women’s Equality party. The businesswoman is passionate about education, health and anti-violence against women.

She said: “ I want to encourage and support more women to speak up about their experiences and share their knowledge from life, career or family so that the Women’s Equality Party can be effective in its policies and commitments to the public..”


Ramsgate artist Gary Perkins –aka last Summer’s escapee Pleasurama piling –  will be standing for the Sir Moses Montefiore ward.

As an independent he says he is sidestepping any party political endorsement in a bid to be better placed to represent everyone and offer them a choice at the ballot box.

Cllr Suzanne Brimm

Suzanne Brimm will stand again to represent Birchington.

The electrician, mother, grandmother and Vice Chairman of Campaign to Protect Rural England in Thanet said: “ I have been involved with the campaign against the overdevelopment of Thanet and the Local Plan for several years.

“I have dedicated spending a large amount of my time representing local residents on a wide range of issues that affect their daily lives and look forward to the prospect of working on behalf of the village of Birchington once again.”

Grahame Birchall Independent, Cliffsend and Pegwell, f I am fortunate enough to be elected, I can guarantee delivery of a Local Mayoral Referendum in Thanet, which is the first step in our campaign to re-write TDC’s constitution, as a cross party exercise. The overriding aim of the campaign is to bring much more, open, transparent and accountable government to Thanet.

Sarah Larkins Independent, Eastcliff

Gary-Paul Derriman (PIeman) Independent, Margate Central: “A vote for me is a vote for Margate, sorry but that is my priority people, businesses, toilets, street cleaning and tourism.”

Richard Baxter Independent, Salmestone: “I’m standing as an independent councillor because I believe that the people of Salmestone Ward, and the people of Thanet, want councillors that are responsive to THEIR wishes; and get value for the money that they pay in Council Tax.”

Ruth Brackstone Bailey Independent, Viking: “My belief is that national party politics have no place in local governance. As an Independent I am free to vote with integrity without toeing a party line. I regularly attend local community and council meetings and contribute on a range of community issues.”

Paul Messenger, Independent, Sire Moses Montefiore: “If elected I want to support the initiative of a plastic free coastline. I will continue to support Aviation returning to Manston. I will support maintaining and improving NHS medical services for the area.”

Search Thanet district election for candidate profiles by town/village.

Polling stations

Find your polling station here

The results

The count and results announcement will take place on Friday, May 3 at Margate Winter Gardens. Results are expected from 1pm.


    • They pulled the U-turn in November 2017, hence the forming of Thanet Independents in January 2018. Chris Wells also resigned in January 2018

      • You don’t explain WHY UKIP has done a U turn. Last time round they had Manston top of the manifesto. Now, not a mention.
        What, I wonder, has happened?

  1. So independents who don’t believe in party politics were UKIP until falling out with their national party,hypocrisy at its highest level.

  2. Not quite as bad as having an antisemetic Leader though, and one who does not know which direction to turn, because he’s steered by the ‘Momentum’ Bolshivics!

  3. Robster, Put your money where your mouth is and show proof of what you say instead of following Conservatives who are trying to smear him because they are afraid

  4. Comment by Barry Lewis directly to me…’Being at KCC is far better than TDC. I do 1/3rd of the work for 3 times the money’ (unquote) Hypocracy at the highest level? Glass houses and all that Mr Lewis.

    • Stuart Piper with any luck you will not be elected again as a TDC councillor. I witnessed you standing outside the polling station at the Northwood by-election telling residents as they went in to vote that you were praying for their dying mother! Shame on you! Just how low can you sink? This type of emotional blackmail is beyond appalling!

      You then went on to describe with relish how your actions in the army led to the deaths of Irish Republicans in Belfast during ‘the troubles’. A fine Christian you are, I don’t think!

      Barry Lewis is at least true to his ideals and more worthy of public office than you. I say this as someone who is not affiliated with any political party. I know both of you and I know who I would prefer to represent me, it is not you ‘Reverend’ Piper!

      • The fact that you do not identify yourself speaks volumes. It is so much easier to lie whilst remaining anonymous. You posted this to create a lie or to try to provoke me to anger. You have only succeeded on the first charge. Enjoy your lie in, you deserve it.

        • You know very well that this is an absolutely true account of your deplorable behaviour that day, as witnessed by several others present outside the polling station. It is you who is the liar ‘Reverend’ Piper!

          Hopefully, tomorrow you will be consigned to history! Ditto your equally deplorable fellow Ukip (now so called Thanet Independents)!

  5. I actually said the average kcc councillor does a third of the work for treble the money, that’s why I gave my pay rise voted through the greedy tories to local charities. Given that kcc meetings are held during the day instead of outside work time unlike local district council meetings it’s virtually not possible for full time workers to be a county councillor, I personally spend about 40 hours a week doing county council work. But Stuart what is hypocritical about showing how badly YOU are paid

  6. Here we go again . . . all our local politicians taking every opportunity to take pot shots at each other instead of a bit of joined-up thinking to benefit Thanet !

    For years, Thanet Council has been accused of being politically toxic – and clearly it still is. There is a far greater “blame game” locally than there is nationally.

    Why don’t you begin to realise that the electorate is sick and tired of all your petty squabbles and name calling. You are worse than children in the school playground.

    Which candidates are going to act like mature adults, put their political differences aside and steer a straight and true course for the benefit of Thanet ? ? ?

    Even the candidate with a boat strapped to his head is far more sensible than many of the other alternatives on offer ! ! !

  7. Note for Terry on Maritime Village; absolutely intended for everyone to use and enjoy. It has the potential for businesses, retail, mixed residential, maritime engineering, water sports centre, sailing club for young people and apprenticeships. It could also include a ferry service of some kind. We have Craig Mackinlay, the Conservatives, and a cross-party community initiative to thank for taking this project at last to a feasibility study. Linked to the further two projects for Ramsgate – the Tall Ships, and the Dunkirk Memorials – we could see a tremendous boost for both community and income.

    • As if we would take any notice of a eccentric who in her time has been Conservative, Ukip, DIG, Ukip and Conservative! Beverly you need to sober up and stop thinking only of No.1!

  8. Well I’m not voting,tdc have never been fit for purpose,they are the laughing stock of the UK, doesn’t matter who wins they all end up the same,just like Chris wells and his band of misfits.

    • Mr Le Surf

      Whilst I appreciate your sentiments – you should make the effort to at least vote for the least undesirable amongst the candidates on offer. If you have voted, you then have a greater right to expect whichever candidate is elected to represent your views.

      If you don’t vote you are effectively giving up your right to expect any form of democratic representation and you have no right to complain about the actions (or inactions) of whoever is in power.

    • If you don’t vote you are opting out of participating in the selection of your representatives. They’re not all the same. How could they be? Unless… they’re all clones!

  9. all acting like kids and kids would run the council better
    who made all the debts you lot did
    Ramsgate has no ferries you did not float anyone’s boat and a bit like who plays the ferryman
    You want to use an old director of manston who could not make it a success then and he still will not now because he is associated with crooks but then that sums up this useless crooked council full of bent criminals. Debts that you made you never have said sorry to the thanet residents for and the lets get it sorted you lot could not organise a piss up in a Thorley pub, even if Farage was there with a pint he would claim it on expenses like all you councilors do whilst it is funny I remind you that we have food banks yes people on the poverty line people out of work but you lot of councilors are just in it to win money and you have done so. Explain to me £30 million and more debt you made and say sorry for it and say you will resign. Instead of year in year your same clout that a child would say but our youngsters need mental health we need doctors surgeries we need dentists you have done nothing since 1972 ….you never investigated Thor you never investigated officers of the council using dredging money you never want the truth about you having knowledge of panama papers

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