Conservative council candidates in Southend West

The Conservatives in Southend-on-Sea are the first to announce a full slate of candidates for May’s elections. Their team in Southend West is announced in this week’s Leigh and Westcliff Times (February 10th edition).

The only selection that ranks as a real surprise is in St Laurence, a ward where they are clearly in trouble. Cllr Adam Jones is stepping down to spend more time where he actually lives (in Barling Magna), and it was expected that last year’s failure, Jonathan Hodge, would try again. I know not whether he efforts last time counted against him, or whether he has seen the writing on the wall, but he is not standing here, or anywhere, this year. Mr Hodge was on their leaflets as recently as November.

Belfairs – Lesley Salter
Blenheim Park – James Courtenay
Chalkwell – Stephen Habermel
Eastwood Park – Trevor Byford
Leigh – Bernard Arscott
Prittlewell – Meg Davidson
St Laurence – Steve Buckley
Westborough – Daryl Peagram
West Leigh – Georgina Phillips

The other sitting councillors are all seeking re-election, leaving Adam Jones as their sole retiree – although this correspondent hopes that retirement will be forced on a few others. Whilst the Conservative retreat is more sedate in the west of the borough when compared to the east, I still see this May as being a real test for the Tories, even in wards where victory is usually assured.

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