INDEPENDENT candidates are expected to stand in wards across Warrington in this year’s all-out elections as they bid to cause a shock.

Every parish and borough council seat in the town will be up for grabs on May 6.

In 2018, independent Geoff Fellows won a Penketh and Cuerdley borough council seat.

Jimmy Robinson gained an Orford council seat from Labour, as an independent, in the 1990s. He was a former Labour councillor.

That came after former mayor Fred Phillips held a Burtonwood seat as an independent.

Cllr Fellows told voters the elections present a once in a four-year opportunity to make the change ‘you’ve been asking for and you deserve’.

He also says he offers himself as a ‘desperately needed’ alternative candidate for the ward.

He said: “Regular online surgeries and broadcasting the parish meeting shows my strong desire for continued openness and transparency.

“Upon my first successful win I did say that the political landscape was changing and I truly believe this is the case.

“All eyes are still on Penketh, but I believe it’s the unrest across the town with various issues of contention that may see victory for other independent candidates elsewhere and I wish them well.

“Electors need to understand who they vote for nationally bears no impact on who they vote for locally and it must be the person rather than the party who they believe would best represent their area.”

Elected in 1983, Labour’s Orford councillor Mike Hannon is Warrington’s longest-serving borough councillor.

But the former deputy council leader is standing down at the upcoming election.

Warrington Guardian:

Cllr Mike Hannon

He said: “As the May 2021 local elections approach, it is difficult to forecast what may happen or if they will take place at all.

“In my what will be 38 years as the Orford councillor what has disappointed me is the low turnout.

“I have always advocated the importance of local elections and more so following gaining unitary responsibility when Warrington became responsible for education, social services and highways which took responsibility away from Cheshire.

“Linked to the low turnout is voters sometimes cast their vote based on what is happening at Westminster and good hard-working local politicians of all parties lose their seats.

“Electors become disappointed with politics and the three-party system.

“Independents sometimes come along on single topic issues or a protest vote.”

Cllr Bob Barr, leader of the town’s Liberal Democrats, says disillusionment with party politics and politicians has led to more candidates standing as independents.

He added: “I expect that trend to be reflected in the Warrington elections.

“Unless they are extremely well known, independents find it hard to be elected because they often lack the resources necessary to campaign and get their message across.

“Voting for an independent means voting for a private manifesto that is unlikely to be implemented. In neighbouring authorities this has led to chaos and councils running into trouble.

“I will be surprised if many independents are elected to Warrington Council this year.”

Independent Penketh parish councillor Andy Heaver quit Labour in 2019.

He is bidding to retain his parish council seat and is also standing as a borough council candidate in Penketh and Cuerdley.

He said: “I strongly believe that the independent candidates can do well in Warrington.

“The big problem is getting people to move away from voting as normal ‘because they always have’ and questioning the actions of the current councillors.

“Don’t get me wrong, there are good people out there doing a great job, but there are others that are along for the ride.

“Local politics has nothing to with national issues so I urge voters to go with the people that will make a real difference in their communities.”