Parties gear up for Darlington by-election to replace much-missed councillor (From The Advertiser Series)
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Parties gear up for Darlington by-election to replace much-missed councillor
A BY-ELECTION to replace a popular councillor will be held next month, with the main political parties confident of a strong showing.
Jackie Maddison, a member of Darlington Borough Council for almost ten years and a driving force behind the town’s annual carnival, died in December following a short illness.
Her seat in the Lascelles ward has been vacant ever since. Nominations for candidates closed on Wednesday (March 13) and the election will be held on Thursday, April 11.
Coun Maddison was a Labour member and the party, which has overall control of the council, is confident of retaining the seat.
Competition will come from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, with both hopeful of causing an upset.
Darlington businessman Lewis Cairns is the Conservative nominee, with Helen Crumbie standing for Labour and Howard Jones in the Lib Dems’ corner.
A full list of those nominated will be available from Friday (March 15).
Ms Crumbie, the daughter of long-serving councillor Tom Nutt, was beaten into second place by the Conservatives’ Gill Cartwright in a by-election in the Harrowgate Hill ward in April last year.
Mr Jones is an electrical engineer who moved to Darlington in 2006.
A Lib Dem spokesman said canvassing had already started in the ward, with some positive feedback from householders.
Charles Johnson, deputy leader of the Conservative group at the town hall, said the Tories would fight “tooth and nail” for the seat, which he admitted had been less of a priority in previous local elections.
Labour’s deputy leader, Stephen Harker, said the party would not be taking anything for granted and added that canvassing among local residents had reinforced how popular Coun Maddison was and how much she is missed.
Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on the day of the by-election, with voters able to have their say in person, by post or by proxy.
Details of polling stations will be posted to registered voters ahead of the by-election.
People who are not registered to vote have until Monday, March 25 to sign up to have their say. Postal votes must be requested by that date.
Applications for proxies, which allow someone to vote on behalf of a named elector, should be made by Wednesday, April 3.
Visit darlington.gov.uk/democracy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01325-388351.