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Birmingham Election Special: all the runners and riders for the council and Westminster

Birmingham Election Special: all the runners and riders for the council and Westminster

🕔10.Apr 2015

Two-hundred-and-eighteen candidates will be fighting the 41 seats up for grabs at the Birmingham city council elections on May 7, reports Paul Dale.

Nominations have closed for the contest, which is on the same day as the General Election.

A full list of council candidates can be seen here.

There are no surprises in nominations for the General Election. In reality, only three of the ten Birmingham constituencies could change hands.

Liberal Democrat John Hemming is defending a 3,000-vote majority in Yardley against Labour city councillor Jess Phillips. Birmingham Northfield is the number one Tory target in Birmingham where Rachel Maclean hopes to oust Labour’s Richard Burden. Birmingham Edgbaston is also on the Tory hit list, where Dr Luke Evans is fighting Labour’s Gisela Stuart, who has held the seat since 1997.

A full list of the General Election candidates can be seen here.

The overall result of the city council contest is not in doubt. Labour have 77 of the 120 council seats, and with only one third being contested this year there is almost no chance of any change in political control. That could all change in 2018, when the council is on course to move to all-out elections with every seat being contested once every four years.

The Conservatives go into this election with 33 seats in the council chamber and the Liberal Democrats have 12, giving Labour a majority of 75.

However, the rise of the United Kingdom Independence Party and the collapse nationally in support for the Liberal Democrats could produce some interesting results In Birmingham.

UKIP is contesting 32 of the 41 seats up for grabs, but most interest will be focused on Shard End where Labour deputy council leader Ian Ward faces a stiff challenge. UKIP came a close second in the ward last time.

Two Labour cabinet members – James McKay and Stewart Stacey – could be in trouble. Cllr McKay is defending his seat in Harborne, a ward which until very recently has been a Tory stronghold. Former councillor Jane James is the Tory candidate.

Cllr Stacey will be hoping to hold on in Acocks Green, a ward that in the past has returned Liberal Democrat councillors. Former councillor Penny Wagg is the Lib Dem candidate this time.

Former Lib Dem cabinet member Martin Mullaney is hoping to make a comeback in Moseley and Kings Heath. He is up against Labour councillor Martin Straker-Welds.

Labour city council leader Sir Albert Bore is up in Ladywood but should have little difficulty being re-elected in the ward he has represented since 1980.

Sir Albert will be hoping for plenty of Labour success following a miserable year which saw the council’s governance capabilities, and by implication his own leadership skills, severely criticised in the Kerslake Review. An improvement panel is now overseeing implementation of an action plan.

Three days after the local elections, on May 11, Sir Albert is expected to face a challenge to his leadership of the Labour group and the council from Quinton councillor John Clancy.

Liberal Democrat group leader Paul Tilsley will be hoping to expand on his 41-year council career. He is up for re-election in Sheldon.

Former Labour city councillor Ian Jamieson, brother of West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, is standing in Bournville for the Green Party.

Veteran Tory councillor Reg Corns is standing down in Northfield. He first joined the council in 1968. The new Tory candidate is Debbie Clancy.

Former schools executive member Matt Bennett will be hoping to make a comeback in Edgbaston where he is the new Conservative candidate replacing James Hutchings.

With the General Election on the same day, Labour will hope to maximise its vote and make inroads into new Tory territory in north Birmingham. Conservative candidate Gareth Moore in Erdington can expect a tough challenge. Meanwhile, in Kingstanding, Labour group secretary Des Hughes will be hoping to prevent the Tories from taking another seat in the ward.

Extensive coverage of the local and general election will continue next week on Chamberlain Files. 

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