UKIP challenge to Yarmouth councillors in May elections

THE UK Independence Party (UKIP) has laid down the gauntlet to the council’s leader and deputy, announcing it will fight them for their seats.

Thirteen of the 39 councillors on Great Yarmouth Borough Council face the public vote on May 3, and UKIP is to contest them all.

Council leader and his deputy, Tories Steve Ames and Charles Reynolds, are among those up for election at the authority which controls �79m of taxpayers’ money.

And all councillors will face pressure from UKIP, which has announced its list of candidates.

Last year, eight of 13 seats up for election were only contested by the UK’s main political parties - Labour and the Conservatives.

But this year they all face UKIP competition, with the list including two 19 year olds.

Merchant navy recruit Alex Monk, 19, is to challenge Tory council leader Steve Ames for his seat in Bradwell South and Hopton ward as the UKIP candidate.

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Deputy leader Charles Reynolds will be pitted against UKIP candidate Jack Cutting, 73, in Ormesby ward.

Apprentice carpenter Liam Probert, also 19, will be UKIP’s Claydon candidate; security guard Colin Aldred, 60, will contend Southtown and Cobholm; and fire safety manager Mike Monk, 58, is challenging for Magdalen ward.

The landlord of The Avenue Pub - Jonathon Childs, 44, - is to stand in Yarmouth North.

Former Tory candidate and local UKIP secretary Matthew Smith, 24, will be contesting Gorleston ward.

Businessman Bob Scott, 60, owner of Discount Linen Fabrics in Gorleston High Street is standing for St Andrews ward.

Bradwell resident and student Alex Dougal, 19, is the Bradwell North candidate, retired John Holt, 75, is standing for Central and Northgate and Michael Wilde, 55, is standing for Nelson ward.

County councillor Rex Parkinson-Hare, 82, is UKIP’s candidate for East Flegg and Paul Toplass, 49, is standing for West Flegg.

The challenge follows a visit from party leader Nigel Farage MEP in February, and is the first time UKIP is fielding candidates for all seats.

Last year, two UKIP candidates were fielded - Colin Aldred in Bradwell South and Hopton, and Matthew Smith in Claydon - but neither were successful.

No UKIP candidates were fielded in 2010.

The current make-up of the council is 22 Conservatives, 16 Labour and one independent - Michael Taylor, a former Labour councillor

Of these, eight Conservatives, four Labour and Mr Taylor are up for election.

The councillors who could lose or retain seats are Steve Ames, Charles Reynolds, Alan Grey, Michael Taylor, Anthony Blyth, George Jermany, Bertie Collins, Patricia Page, Michael Jeal, Marlene Fairhead, Penny Linden, Barry Coleman and Paul Garrod.

Nominations for people wishing to stand as councillors must be received by the Returning Officer at midday on Wednesday, April 4.

Voters must ensure they are registered by Wednesday, April 18 or they will not be able to take part in the democratic process - the election helpline is 01493 846327.

The total percentage polled in May 2011 was just 36pc.

Further news on the candidates standing for election will be reported in the Mercury in the coming weeks.