Conservatives set to face uphill election battle in Coventry

By Matthew Bates 25/04 Updated: 26/04 11:21

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Buy photos » Conservative candidates in next month’s election outside Council House. 17.012.040.cov.jg5

CONSERVATIVE candidates at this year's local election are set to face a tough task.

Their leader Kevin Foster admitted losses were expected and the nine councillors hoping for re-election faced a challenge.

But he told the Observer they were working hard to win over voters when they go to the polls on May 3.

The council is currently run by Labour, which has 35 of the 54 seats. The Liberal Democrats and Socialists have one seat each with the rest in Conservative hands.

Coun Foster, who was re-elected after a closely-fought battle in Cheylesmore in 2011, said: "When these set of councillors were elected back in 2008 it was the dying days of the Labour government administration.

"The national picture pays a large part in local politics and it wasn't a positive result last year.

"But my colleagues are working hard in their wards, we're hoping they can hold on because of that."

One Conservative facing a fight for re-election is Allan Andrews.

The Earlsdon councillor watched on last year as party colleague Ken Taylor kept Labour at bay by just 86 votes. This year Coun Andrews is up against Labour's Bilal Akhtar, who missed out on a council seat two years ago by just 36 votes.

Candidates from UKIP, the Liberal Democrats, Green Party, Socialist Alternative and Christian Movement have also been fielded this year.

He said the count - set to take place at the Ricoh Arena - was always a nervous time for candidates.

"Last year was very disappointing for us and this year is going to be a tough fight given the high watermark we are defending.

"But we are running a positive campaign focused on the work Conservative councillors are doing in the communities they represent.

"It's an inevitable consequence of local politics that people tend to vote against the party that is in government and we are not immune to that as we saw last May.

"The key for me is that we have a lot of very good local councillors standing for re-election who live in the heart of their communities and are active all year round."

Visit http://www.coventryobserver.co.uk/2012/04/25/news-Labour-target-an-election-landslide-35779.html to read council deputy Coun George Duggins' take on Labour's chances in next month's election.

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