The Liberal Democrats have surged into second place in the Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency at the local elections, making them the clear challengers to the Tories in May’s General Election.
Bill Revans has gained the North Petherton division from the Conservative in the Somerset County Council elections.
The LibDems are fighting all twelve seats in this constituency (the first time since 2005) and in all 55 across Somerset, aiming to take back overall control of the County Council from the Conservatives. The manifesto can be read at: http://www.somersetlibdems.org/manifesto
The most marginal Conservative Division in the county is North Petherton, a top LibDem target which local Sedgemoor District Councillor Bill Revans will be contesting, after losing by just 20 votes last time. Bill is an experienced local Councillor, a former Mayor of North Petherton and a local political heavyweight. A Secondary School teacher by profession, he is currently a family carer.
In Bridgwater Town, the LibDems are standing a determined new team. In Bridgwater East & Bawdrip , Kings Down resident and Bridgwater Without Parish Council Chairman Mike Senior will be building on his local government experience from Bath. A butcher, he will be fighting Tory cuts. In Bridgwater North & Central, Church youth worker and barman Antony Nickolls will be serving an energetic campaign. Antony grew up in Sydenham where his father was a LibDem District Councillor and has huge experience working with the homeless in Bridgwater. Antony is also standing in the Sedgemoor District Council by-election in Eastover Ward. Michelle Phillips brings her business and community experience to the team and will be standing in Bridgwater West. Michelle is community minded and has been launching a “Timebank” to encourage neighbourliness and volunteering in newly built housing developments. Local man Daniel Kelly is standing in Bridgwater South. Dan has a Masters degree in Law and will be using his massive experience of working for Members of Parliament and local Councillors to get a fairer deal for Bridgwater.
Cannington and Huntspill are both former LibDem seats and looking to win them back will be Jill Dillamore and Phil Harvey. Jill has recently retired from a career in personnel. Jill will offer Somerset County Council huge experience, as the authority is under-going a staffing crisis. Retired Deputy Headteacher Phil was a former council leader in Chelmsford, before retiring back to his native Somerset. In the King Alfred Division a political dynasty is being started with the outstanding Emma Munt, daughter of former Wells MP Tessa Munt, challenging the Conservatives.
West Somerset LibDems are on the up after their massive victory in the Dunster and Timberscombe by-election last month. Their victor, Peter Pilkington is standing in the Exmoor & Dulverton Division, where his experience as a stockman and shepherd will help round up the LibDem vote in the biggest ward in the County. In Dunster Division, retired Headteacher James Wall has been working hard on the doorsteps to win this huge area. James taught Latin during his career and is aiming to teach the Conservatives tempora mutantur. A racing tipster, James predicts this result will be worth an outside bet on May 4thas the LibDems have excellent form in Dunster. Former West Somerset Watchet Councillor Tony Bowden is making up the team in Watchet & Stogursey. A leading figure in Minehead & West Somerset Golf Club, he is hoping for a big swing on May 4th. In Minehead, local businessman and former Town Councillor Marcus Kravis will be slotting in, hoping to regain the once former Lib Dem Minehead seat, which he missed out on by just 120 votes to UKIP four years ago. Marcus has run a business in Minehead for over 20 years and will be able to use his experience of business and tourism to give the town a boost at County Hall. Marcus stood for Parliament in the last General election against Liam Fox and is currently the Parliamentary Spokesman for Bridgwater & West Somerset. Standing for the West Somerset by-election, and hoping to repeat the spectacular gain in Dunster & Timberscombe in Minehead North Ward will be Benet Allen. Benet is a local resident, coach driver and helicopter pilot. A genuine high flyer, he specialises in aerial photography and has previously worked as a journalist for Reuters.