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Herts County Council elections: Labour to fight Bishop's Stortford East seat




Labour has decided to field a challenger for the Bishop's Stortford East seat in next month's Herts County Council elections.

It had been expected that the division would be a two-horse race between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats after a close finish in 2017, but the Hertford and Stortford constituency Labour party has named Oya Er Wilkes, who lives in Dunmow Road.

The 42-year-old is a missing children co-ordinator at a local authority in north London and has degrees in journalism and psychology and a masters in social work.

Labour's Oya Er Wilkes
Labour's Oya Er Wilkes

She will take on sitting Tory John Wyllie, who is also an East Herts district councillor and leader of Bishop's Stortford Town Council, and Liberal Democrat Calvin Horner, a Stortford town councillor from 2007 to 2011.

The poll on Thursday May 6 will determine the membership of all 78 seats on Herts County Council, which for two-thirds of its 48-year history – including the last 20 years – has been controlled by the Conservatives. Bishop's Stortford is split up into West, East and Rural divisions and is represented at County Hall in Hertford by three Tories.

In 2017, Cllr Wyllie narrowly won with 1,517 votes (42.1%) – 80 ahead of Lib Dem Mione Goldspink with 1,437 (39.9%). Labour's Val Cooke got 458 votes (12.7%) and the Green Party's Madela Baddock 179 (5%).

Conservative John Wyllie
Conservative John Wyllie

In the town's West division, East Herts district councillor and former Stortford town councillor Alastair Ward-Booth, a trainee solicitor, takes on Lib Dem Richard Townsend, a Stortford town councillor, and Labour candidate Thomas Diamond, a teacher at Manor Fields Primary School who stood in 2019's East Herts Council election.

Graham McAndrew is the Tory candidate again for Stortford Rural, which takes in Thorley, the Hadhams, Albury and the Pelhams. He has represented the division for eight years and sits on East Herts Council, where he is a cabinet member, and is a former town councillor. In 2017, he defeated Lib Dem Mr Horner.

Labour's candidate is Milly Lynch, who has lived in Stortford for 12 years and has studied, worked and volunteered in the area. The Lib Dem candidate is veteran councillor Bob Taylor, a former mayor of Stortford who was re-elected in May 2019 to the town council, where he leads his party's group.

The Indie has invited the parties to submit manifestos from each of their candidates for publication before the poll. The deadline to apply for a postal vote for the May 6 elections is 5pm on April 20. Register online at www.eastherts.gov.uk/elections-voting/how-where-vote by midnight on April 19.

Liberal Democrat Calvin Horner
Liberal Democrat Calvin Horner


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