Milton Keynes elections 2021: Lib Dem chief owns up to candidate nomination blooper

A Liberal Democrat party chief has owned up after one of their local would-be candidates had their election nomination papers rejected by officials.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 1:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 1:26 pm

Instead of having candidates for all 21 Milton Keynes Council seats up for grabs on May 6, the Lib Dems will have 20 after Marion Hall’s papers were found to be ‘invalid’ before last week’s deadline.

Seconds after the local democracy reporter discovered one of the council’s three main parties would not be fielding a full slate of candidates and announced it on Twitter, the official behind the blooper admitted the error in good humour.

Richard Greenwood, the local party chair of the Lib Dems, Tweeted: “That was my fault!”

An election ballot box

He explained that he was working on deadline day and had passed a “last few sets of nomination papers to someone else to submit.”

Unfortunately the party’s nomination papers for the Bletchley Park seat were missing a “critical part” which caused them to be rejected by council officials.

“Unfortunately I missed a critical part of one, and my phone being in another room, I didn’t realise people were trying to call me to get it fixed last minute!” said Mr Greenwood.

While Mr Greenwood was unhappy to lose a long standing track record of fielding full slates in the local elections, he was relieved that the error did not happen in one of their target wards.

It’s not the first time that one of the three main parties had failed to put up a full slate in local elections, following the omission of a Conservative candidate in 2019.

And, just for some political balance, for this year’s elections Labour submitted papers for two candidates in Shenley Brook End this year, for would be seat swapping Cllr Martin Gowans (Bletchley East), and David Richard Cockfield. Cllr Gowans’ papers were later withdrawn.

The local elections this year will be fought in 21 of the council’s 57 seats in all 19 wards, with Labour fighting to hold on to 11, the Tories defending five and the Lib Dems currently sitting in five.

The council currently does not have any one party with the 29 or more seats it would need to hold power, but Labour (23) and the Lib Dems (15) have a partnership agreement which keeps the Conservatives (17) out in the cold.

of the others, one is a former Tory seat which became vacant when a councillor resigned last year, and there is an independent who used to be a Conservative.

There will also be an election for Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, a range of parish councils, and a referendum on Stantonbury Neighbourhood Plan.

Candidates standing in Bletchley Park are: Jane Anne Duckworth (Heritage Party); Mo Imran (Cons); Michael John Sheppard (Green Party); Elaine June Wales* (Lab) (sitting councillor).

Candidates in Shenley Brook End are: Peter Paul Cannon (sitting councillor) (Lib Dem Focus Team); David Cockfield (Lab); David Anthony Lewis (Green Party); Chris Taylor (Cons).

For more information on the local elections, including the candidates seeking the votes in your ward visit: https://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/your-council-and-elections/elections-and-register-to-vote/elections/elections-on-6-may-2021