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It's all happening in Thurrock. Already there has been the independently run poll showing overwhelming support for a referendum on withdrawal from the EU.

But it will also have a high profile in the council elections. It has a minority Labour administration – there are 24 Labour councillors against 22 Conservatives and a couple of independents. So this must be Labour's first target for gaining a council. Given that these seats were last contested in 2008 – when the Conservatives ended up 20% ahead of Labour nationally – there must be the expectation that they will succeed.

But then on that logic Boris Johnson would give up on his election campaign on the basis that a Livingstone victory would a racing certainty.

The Thurrock Conservatives have certainly not given up on the chance of winning.

They have produced a strong manifesto full of sound ideas.

On housing allocation it says:

We will prioritise allocation of council houses to people and families who work hard to help themselves, have a strong local connection, and contribute to their local communities.

We believe that years spent serving your country mean more than years spent on a waiting list. Returning members of the armed forces will be given greater priority in housing allocations.

On schools it says:

We will reduce the amount of schools money that the council keeps centrally (currently over £10 million per year). We will pass the savings directly to local schools, for head-teachers and governors to set their own priorities.

We will help schools work together to buy the support services that they decide they still need (some of our secondary's have already saved up to 50% by doing this).

We will end Labour’s culture of hostility towards free and academy schools, and work with them as equal partners in improving education for children in Thurrock.

On democracy it says:

Thurrock’s year-on-year electoral system has given us expensive elections, weak administrations, and politicians who are too focused on winning votes. We will consult with you on changies to the system used by many other local authorities, where you elect the whole council at once for a four year term.

Despite being in opposition the Conservatives managed to vote through a 0.25% cut in Council Tax last year. They would hope to achieve a rather larger cut if actually running the council.

Good luck to them.

7 comments for: Thurrock Conservatives offer strong manifesto