Race is on to win over voters

THE race to the polls is now on after the candidates for South Tyneside Council's elections were announced.

A massive 129 candidates are vying for 54 seats in 18 wards across the borough this year.

And now they are battling to get their names known in the community before election day on Thursday, June 10.

In total, 54 Labour candidates will stand for election and 23 Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrats have 22 representatives, while the Progressives have 12.

There are also 12 Independent candidates and one from the Green Party.

For the first time in a number of years, there will be three British National Party representatives and one from the National Front.

Currently, the council consists of 48 Labour councillors, five Liberal Democrats, three Progressives, two Independents and there is one vacancy.

Council leader Paul Waggott will be fighting to retain his seat in Fellgate and Hedworth, and his wife, Mayor Linda Waggott, is standing for the Bede area after her current ward Biddick Hall was merged with All Saints.

Fifty serving councillors will stand for re-election, and former Labour councillors Allen Branley, Tom Defty and Jim Caine will be standing as Independents for Westoe, Bede and Whitburn and Marsden wards respectively.

The ballot is all postal and voting packs will be delivered from Wednesday, May 26.

Ballot papers must be received by the Returning Officer no later than 10pm on Thursday, June 10.