Full details are yet to be published but I understand that of the 15 Reading wards with an election this year on 5th May, each one will have a candidate from each of the three main parties. Thus every voter will have the choice from Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem. I am also told that the Green Party will have a candidate in every ward as well. This finally puts paid to the suggestion that Labour tried to make that the Conservatives and Lib Dems were intending on some electoral pact in the local elections.
Interestingly this year UKIP are not standing any candidates in Reading, neither is the BNP. The eccentric Reading-based ”Commonsense Party” will be standing in 6 wards (Abbey, Battle, Church, Katesgrove, Kentwood and Whitley) and French bus driver Jean-Louis Pascual will be standing in Battle for his “Roman Party-Ave!” The only other candidate will be Independent Michael Durbeville in Katesgrove. Thus in the highly marginal Katesgrove ward voters will have the choice of no less than 6 candidates.
Reports are also coming in from around the country of Labour and the Lib Dems failing to nominate candidates in many wards where they might have expected to have some hope of winning. According to the Politicalbetting.com website this is largely to the benefit of Conservatives. Some estimates are that “several hundred” Conservatives may be elected unopposed this May! I have yet to have details but I am told that locally Labour have failed to nominate candidates for most Woodley and Earley Town Council seats and in many of the Wokingham and West Berkshire wards.