A residents’ group has criticised political parties for fielding non Seaford candidates in the upcoming town council elections, saying their involvement is ‘unfair and counterproductive’.
Following the recent publication of the candidates list, chairman of community group Seaford Residents Voice, Richard Wright, said: “There are many there whose involvement and interest in the town of Seaford are, at best, unknown. Some even live outside the town and one wonders how well they know the detailed priorities of the residents of their prospective ward.
"It does pose a question: how many are there purely because they have been ‘encouraged’ to stand by a political party?
“It is unfair and counterproductive for the town to put up candidates whose heart really isn’t in the job, especially as it is a demanding, time consuming role if done properly.”
The election, which is set to take place on October 27, comes after five councillors resigned in August.
The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are each fielding five candidates in the election. UKIP are fielding four and the Green Party have one candidate standing. An independent candidate is also standing in the Seaford south ward.
In response, Labour’s Denise Savage to defended her party’s decision to field candidates. She said: “I disagree that local politics should not be affected by party politics. Although we discuss local issues on the doorstep with residents and find out what concerns them, people know from our red rosettes that we stand for certain principles.”
Liberal Democrat Kelly-Marie Blundell said: "Many existing councillors on the town council wear party hats at different levels and it would be disingenuous to suggest they are independents.
"The Liberal Democrat candidates are long time residents of Seaford, and local activists working for the good of the town, but also proud to support a platform of being pro-EU and embrace liberty, equality and community."
UKIP’s Alan Latham said: “While replacement councillors can be selected or co-opted through an interview process the only democratic approach involves election.
" Inevitably, this places a cost burden on the town. This is an unfortunate consequence of resignations and political parties should ensure, as far as possible, that their candidate selection process can establish that candidates when elected are able to serve the full term thus avoiding the town incurring unnecessary expense.”
CLARIFICATION: A version of this article which appeared in the October 14 edition of the Sussex Express quoted Kelly-Marie Blundell as saying Liberal Democrat candidates in the Seaford Town Council elections already had roles on local County and District councils. In fact Ms Blundell said that the Liberal Democrats' current Seaford town councillors have these roles - not the candidates as initally reported.
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