Somerset unitary nominations

Yesterday the nominations were published for the Unitary Council elections for Somerset on 5 May. In total there will be 110 new councillors. Oddly, assuming the maths at Leveller® Towers are up to scratch, no party is contesting all 110 seats. However the Conservatives will be contesting 109 and the LibDems 108. The other two parties to win seats in the old county council, were Labour and the Greens. Labour will be contesting 45 seats, (of which Labour Co-op contest 5) and the Greens 49.

The leaders of all four district councils (Ros Wyke, Val Keitch, Duncan McGinty and Federica Smith-Roberts) will stand. As will the leader of the old Somerset County Council (SCC), David Fothergill. All the former SCC cabinet members are standing for election and most of the former district council executives.

However there will be some absentees. Barry O’Leary who was Deputy Leader of Mendip has decided not to stand again. Tom Ronan will not be standing either. In South Somerset neither Peter Gubbins nor John Clark have put their names forward for the unitary. However at Sedgemoor Council, aside from the leader just two members of the executive have put their names forward this time, Gill Slocombe and Mike Caswell. At Somerset West & Taunton (SWT), Chris Booth is not standing for the unitary but the other cabinet members are.

In the city of Wells, the former MP and County Councillor, Tessa Munt will be standing for the LibDems.

There were over 250 existing district and county councillors scrambling to contest 110 new unitary seats. Inevitably there were going to be some drop outs. 42 former county councillors are standing and 93 former district councillors. However of the 337 candidates standing 202 were not previously district or county councillors. Which suggests the odds are there will be some new blood in the new council.

The scramble for seats has thrown out some oddities though. For instance Jo Roundell Green from Ilminster will fight South Petherton for the LibDems alongside Adam Dance. Did the LibDems not have enough candidates from South Petherton? Not at all! Mike Stanton of South Petherton is standing as a candidate – but in Langport and Curry Rivel….

Similarly there is Derek Yeomans, a long standing county and district councillor from Curry Rivel. He is standing for the Conservatives – but in South Petherton! And Gemma Verdon from Creech St Michael is contesting Martock for the Conservatives.

Martock promises to be interesting with two strong independent candidates. Neil Bloomfield (a district and county councillor for Martock) and Tony Capozzoli a long standing district councillor. They will face off against two Conservatives, two LibDems, and a Labour candidate.

Dunster will see Marcus Kravis a LibDem exec member at SWT standing against Conservative Christine Lawrence. The latter was a cabinet member in SCC.

Finally a word on Frome. For a decade a group of independents have run the town council there. Standing under the banner of Independents For Frome they successfully removed political parties from the town council. Up until now they have limited their ambitions to the town council. But for the 5 May elections they will also field two candidates in the unitary elections for Frome as well.

You can see the full list of candidates here:

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