BELLE MONT reports from Sutton, where the local Labour party is sounding confident of establishing a foothold on the Liberal Democrat-dominated council
After 28 years of effectively a one-party state dominating their local council, Labour thinks it has a chance of breaking through against Sutton’s polluting, thieving and cage-fighting Liberal Democrat councillors and ex-councillors.
Apart from a brief spell when a LibDem defected to the Labour Party six years ago, Sutton has been an orange and blue duopoly for… well, forever, really, with the LibDems taking overall control of the council from the Tories for the first time in 1990 and hanging on to it ever since.
It is 16 years since Labour last had a candidate elected as a councillor in Sutton.
But with changing demographics, the impact of Corbynmania and growing dissatisfaction with the council’s ancien regime over local issues including the Beddington incinerator and #SuttonBinShame (as Croydon’s neighbours swiftly discovered the joys of Veolia), Labour is confident of ending its absence from the Sutton council chamber at this year’s local elections on May 3.
Sutton Labour this week announced 13 candidates across five wards, with a promise of more to come today, possibly including John Keys – the LibDem councillor who defected over the incinerator scandal – and nationally recognised figure Emily Brothers.
Labour’s full slate of 54 candidates in Sutton will be announced next month and a 30-page manifesto with key pledges is to be issued by the beginning of March.
“With 1,300 members and 600 registered supporters we now have more members in the borough than LibDems, Tories, Greens and UKIP combined, so we’ve got lots of enthusiastic members itching to stand and we are definitely encouraging them,” a senior party member said.
“We will therefore see campaigning activity in at least 10 wards on top of a full slate in the rest. At the same time there will be a strong focus on St Helier, Wandle Valley, Sutton Central, Beddington North and Sutton West and Stonecot.
“St Helier, Wandle and Stonecot will have the hospital as an issue; Sutton Central and West have lots of issues around parking and town centre regeneration; while Beddington North has the incinerator and is likely to see at least a four-way battle between full Labour, Conservative, Liberal and independent slates, plus perhaps some Greens, too.
“That could mean that a winning team only needs 25 per cent of the vote to be in with a chance there.”
Sutton Labour candidates selected so far are:
Sutton Central: Stephen Adams, Bonnie Craven, Vic Paulino
Sutton West: Laura Mullaney, Chris Woolmer
St Helier: Nick Diamantis, Maggie Hughes, Patrick Sim
Wandle Valley: David Grant, Ahmad Nawaz, Margaret Thomas
Beddington North: Sarah Gwynn, Charlie Mansell
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