An analysis by Eric Pickles, Shadow Minister for Local Government, of local election candidates reveals that the Labour Party is struggling to inspire people to stand for local council wearing a red rosette. Labour are contesting just 60.6% of seats – down a full 5% on last time. The Tory percentage is the best ever in these seats.
The Pickles/ CCHQ analysis also shows that UKIP’s promise to field 1,000+ candidates has not materialised. UKIP are fielding just 805 candidates. The Tories have also done best in challenging the BNP. Conservatives are contesting 96.7% of seats with a BNP candidate. Labour are contesting 93.4% and the LibDems 82%.
"Labour activists are turning their backs on Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. It is a sure sign that a political party is in deep trouble when it cannot find candidates for almost half the seats up for election. This is the clearest proof of Labour’s unpopularity caused by hiking up council tax bills and making councils cut local services like weekly rubbish collections and public libraries. In this major set of elections, Conservatives are fielding over 2,500 more council candidates than either of our opponents. Under David Cameron’s leadership, our Party organisation across the country, crucial to our prospects at the next general election, is in better shape than Labour or the Liberal Democrats. And Conservatives are now the party of local government for a reason – our councils deliver better quality local services and lower council taxes.”
Related link: Eric Pickles’ local elections briefing