Battle lines are drawn for another day of political drama in borough

Jeremy Birch SUS-140304-141326001
Jeremy Birch SUS-140304-141326001

THE BATTLE lines have been drawn and the gloves are off for the next chapter in the political make-up of the borough of Hastings.

On Thursday, voters will go to the polls to decide on who will represent them both at Town Hall and at the biggest parliaments, the European Union.

And it is hoped the turn out will be better than normal with two elections at the same time.

Labour is hoping to take an even tighter grip on control as the Conservatives fight to hang on to the remaining eight seats they currently hold.

Two years ago the Tories were left licking their wounds as Labour picked up six seats to move to 23 in total, their largest ever number of seats.

Conservative leader Matthew Lock lost his seat by just two votes to new ‘kid on the block,’ youth centre manager Andy Batsford.

And deputy leader Matthew Beaver was also given his marching orders in West St Leonards.

Both men are attempting to be re-elected, Mr Lock in Silverhill and Mr Beaver in West St Leonards again.

They will face still opposition from Labour and UKIP who are contesting seven wards this year.

John Wilson is standing in Ashdown after defecting to UKIP from the Tories last summer.

Central St Leonards ward has the largest number of candidates fighting for election.

The home ward of council leader Jeremy Birch, the field includes peace campaigner Maya Evans who is standing for the Green Party and the only independent Clive Gross.

The Braybrooke ward will be contested by Sue Beaney the partner of outgoing and long-serving councillor Godfrey Daniel.

Meanwhile the wife of current Tory leader Rob Cooke will try her hand in the Wishing Tree ward.

Wendy Cooke will face stiff opposition from the current mayor Alan Roberts.

It is all a far cry from the political make up of just four years ago when the Conservatives were almost neck and neck with Labour.

In 2010 the Tories took 14 seats just two behind Labour.

But in 1998 the Tories were on the brink of being wiped out holding just one seat.

Labour took 18 seats and the resurgent Lib Dems held 13, their best performance in recent years.

European elections will also be held on the same day with the count taking place on Sunday.

Labour’s Emily Westley has thrown her hat into the Euro election ring.

She is standing for South East MEP.

Terry Leach and Raymond Crick, both from St Leonards, are also standing in the election for the Harmony party.

Votes can be placed between 7am and 10pm at the same time as local elections.

The local election count will take place at Horntye Park on Thursday and the MEP election count on Sunday.

The Observer will be following the election count every step of the way. Keep up to date with the results on our Twitter account @HastingsObs or on our website: