St James Ward by-election 2014: Kingston voters set to go to polls

Voters in the St James Ward by-election will go to the polls tomorrow to select their new borough councillor.

Conservative Kingston councillor Howard Jones sadly died in October after serving on the council for more than 40 years which triggered the election.

In the local elections this year the Conservatives gained a majority of eight after 12 years of the Liberal Democrats running the town hall Labour secured only two seats, while the Greens and UKIP had none.

Thursday’s by-election is not set to change things dramatically, but the result will set the tone ahead 2015 general election.

Green Party candidate, Alex Nelson, told SW Londoner: “The Green Party is making amazing gains across the country at the moment and growing at an incredible rate.

“Winning this by-election will help cement the fact that the Green Party is the real alternative to the government, the real sure will be a highly successful election for the Greens next year.”

UKIP candidate Ben Roberts told SW Londoner that he was pragmatic about his chances at the polls.

He said: “We have to be realistic and consider the stage of our journey.

“In terms of London, we are in the early stages of that journey and it may take a couple of years of developing the ground support before that reflects through to winning seats on councils such as Kingston.

“I’m so enthusiastic about growing that support and it’s great to be one of the only parties whose vote share is growing in almost every by-election we fight.”

Labour candidate Stephen Dunkling said: “In the May 2014 Council elections, Labour’s vote increased by 5% while the Conservative vote was down by 1% and the Lib-Dem vote slumped by 12%.

“With the coalition parties losing the support of local people, only Labour can offer a new voice for New Malden.”

Jack Edward Cheetham (Conservative) and Annette Wookey (Liberal Democrat) were contacted for comments.

The nominated councillor candidates are: Jack Edward Cheetham for the Conservative party, Stephen Dunkling for Labour, Alex Nelson for the Greens, Ben Roberts for UKIP and Annette Wookey for the Liberal Democrats.

Picture courtesy of John Keane, with thanks

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