Six candidates are to battle it out in the East Brighton by-election for a seat on Brighton and Hove City Council.
The by-election was called after Maggie Barradell, one of three Labour councillors representing the ward, stood down for family reasons. She is moving to be closer to her mother after her father died.
Nominations to stand in the by-election closed today (Friday 8 July). The six candidates are
- Mitch Alexander, Green
- Andrew England, Liberal Democrat
- Leigh Farrow, UK Independence Party (UKIP)
- David Plant, Conservative
- Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour
- Ramon David Sammut, Independent
The by-election is due to take place on Thursday 4 August.
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, 29, is the favourite, with East Brighton widely regarded as a safe Labour seat. He said last week though that he would not be taking anything for granted.
Mr Russell-Moyle, of Eastern Road, Brighton, chairs the Brighton, Hove and District Labour Party and works as a consultant to the United Nations on poverty and young people.
He said: ““I’m delighted to have the chance to represent the ward that I’ve lived in for a number of years and the ward that – like most Brightonians – I was born in.
“It’s one of the most diverse wards in the city. It has challenges but fantastic community spirit.”
The Conservatives have also chosen a local in businessman David Plant, who turns 63 next week.
Mr Plant, the commercial director of a building services company, now lives in Ainsworth Avenue, Ovingdean, but he grew up in Fletching Road and went to the old Whitehawk Secondary School. As a youngster he sang in the choir at St Cuthman’s.
Mr Plant said: “I’ve still got family in Whitehawk. I lived in Whitehawk until I was 22.”
He is one of four boys and an electrician by trade, having left school at 15. He went to Brighton University to study management as a mature student while raising two children – a son and a daughter – of his own.
He stood in the ward at the last local elections and some voters, on hearing his name, asked: “Are you one of Ralph and Emily’s boys?”
He is. And some older voters may also remember his prowess on the football pitch. He played for – and captained – Whitehawk in a non-league career that took in stints at Southwick, Horsham and, briefly, Crawley.
He said: “I’m delighted to stand in the ward where I grew up. I know the area and I know the people. And I’m proud to have the opportunity to go from a council estate to being a councillor.”
A supporter of the children’s charity Leo House, he said that, if he was elected, he wouldn’t forget that “it’s all about the residents”.
The Green Party has picked Mitch Alexander, of Knepp Close, Bevendean. She has been an active campaigner against council tax bills going up for poorer residents and for better bus services to and from local estates.
She was a leading light in the campaign to try to save her local doctor’s surgery, The Practice Willow House, in Bevendean.
She said: “I love living in Brighton and want every single person who lives here too to enjoy all that the city has to offer, which is why I am campaigning hard for better public transport, accessible healthcare, stimulating community parks, affordable and free involvement in the arts.
“I want Brighton and Hove to become a place where no resident feels left out of the city’s well-known vibrancy because of a low income.
“Before starting a family, I worked in drama and theatre and am currently in the process of setting up an organisation which will run free weekly drama workshops for children, teens, adults and the elderly in Whitehawk, Moulsecoomb and Hollingdean.”
She moved to the city 17 years ago when she was pregnant with her first daughter. Her early Brighton years were spent bringing up her three daughters while running a baby and children’s shop in the North Laine.
Former councillor Leigh Farrow is standing for the UK Independence Party UKIP). Mr Farrow, of Deans Close, Woodingdean, was elected to represent Moulsecoomb and Bevendean Ward in 2011.
He was not reselected for the last local elections last year and switched to UKIP but failed to hold the seat.
The Liberal Democrats have named Andrew England, of Avondale Road, Hove, as their candidate.
Mr England has taught chemistry at Roedean School since 1978, becoming head of department in 2006.
He was the junior organiser for Sussex Women’s Cricket Association for ten years, establishing the under 21, under 19, under 17, under 15, under 13 and under 11 age group teams.
He said that, if he was elected, he would work to ensure excellent standards of education within the ward and would promote tolerance across the city.
He said: “I am honoured to have been chosen as the candidate to represent the Liberal Democrat Party in the East Brighton by-election.
“East Brighton has three primary schools rated ‘good’ by Ofsted: St Mark’s, St John the Baptist and Whitehawk City Academy. As a teacher, with two of my children at one of these schools, I want to ensure that all children get a top education.
“Schools need to be fully supported by the council and funded adequately. Reducing funding when a school improves from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ is not the answer.
“My number one priority would be to see that these three schools gain an Ofsted ‘outstanding’ rating and become the best three primary schools in the city.
“Brighton and Hove is an international, outward-looking, tolerant, compassionate and co-operative city and it was no surprise that over two thirds of the population voted ‘Remain’ in the recent referendum, a view held strongly by the Liberal Democrats.
“Our stance at the next general election will be to argue to change minds and to change the decision, aiming to reform the EU from within.
“There is considerable support for this view evidenced by the fact that the membership of the Liberal Democrat Party has increased by over 15,000 since the referendum.”
An independent, Ramon Sammut, of Penhurst Place, Whitehawk, is also standing, making six candidates in all.
Tuesday 19 July is the last day on which to register to vote.