At least 11 new faces will be elected to serve as councillors in Milton Keynes borough following the elections on May 6 – and that’s GUARANTEED.
A combination of factors have come together to see more than half the 21 seats up for grabs this time around not being fought by sitting councillors.
Most of the seats up for election would have been fought in May 2020 but were postponed because of the pandemic. May 2021 was due to be a “fallow” year, with no elections, but the postponements have filled the gap for election junkies.
Some big beasts in the civic jungle – including Lib Dem leader Douglas McCall (Newport Pagnell South), Labour deputy leader Hannah O’Neill (Woughton & Fishermead), and senior Conservative John Bint (Broughton) have all decided not to defend their seats this time around.
Long-standing Labourite Norman Miles (Wolverton) is not standing again after more than 30 years as a councillor.
Former Labour cabinet member Martin Gowans (Bletchley East), Stony Stratford socialist Charlie Wilson-Marklew, and Lib Dem former deputy leader Ric Brackenbury (Campbell Park & Old Woughton) are also calling a halt to their borough council service.
Labour backbench stalwart Paul Williams (Central MK) resigned in March after taking up a job with the NHS and moving to Cambridgeshire.
Central MK is one of two wards where electors will be asked to vote twice for borough councillors because Paul Williams’s seat was not due to be fought until 2023. Another seat will become vacant under the normal four year term of office.
The other two-vote ward is Woughton and Fishermead where Hannah O’Neill’s seat was due to fall vacant this year.
A second seat became vacant because Labour’s Shammi Akter resigned after she was convicted of neglect for leaving her four-year-old son at home alone while she went out to work.
On the Tory side councillor Bill Green (Newport North & Hanslope), who took over from his wife Jeanette, in 2018, has decided not to throw his hat into the ring again.
And in Tattenhoe, Conservative councillor Gerald Small resigned in February 2020, which left his seat vacant during the pandemic when by elections could not be held.
Of all 21 seats being fought there could also be political scalps as more sitting councillors seek re-election – but their fate is also in the hands of the voters.
Elections for Milton Keynes Council, the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, a range of parish council seats and a referendum on the Stantonbury Neighbourhood Plan will be held on Thursday, May 6.
in 2019 the turnout at the borough council elections ranged from 20 per cent to about 37 per cent and this year local election watchers will be looking closely at that figure.
Polling stations will be open from 7am – 10pm and voters will be able to use their own pens, hand sanitizers and be asked to wear face coverings.