In 2013 there will be elections to Somerset County Council and Labour will be contesting every seat. For the  7 seats in the Bridgwater and South Sedgemoor area, selections were held on September 3rd at a meeting of Party members at Unity House.

In terms of the County Council Bridgwater is seen as Labours best chance for making gains. 8 years ago all 4 Bridgwater seats were Labour with the party  in a key position on County holding the balance of power and gaining Executive seats.

"Never been a better time"

In the last couple of years the National picture has changed  with Conservatives in Government forcing through major cutbacks and backed up by the Lib Dems-usually their main opponents on Somerset County, but now plummeting dramatically in the polls through a combination of broken promises  and dissapointment. There has never been a better time for Labour to make gains-and indeed across the country Labour are winning elections in areas previously thought unlikely.

"to win back seats"

Constituency secretary Cllr Kathy Pearce says " Never before have public services been hit so hard.  It is therefore vital that we have a vibrant panel of candidates and active involvement of members to ensure that we are able to enter these elections in a strong fighting position to challenge the cuts and creeping privatisation of our public services and to win back seats lost at the last election."

Press Officer Cllr Brian Smedley added "Any party member can stand for selection and I would urge new members to come forward . The party has to grow and move with the times, and while we always look to our experienced councillors to lead the way, our team has to reflect the community it wants to represent, therefore I would ask that more women and young people considered putting themselves forward and be at the forefront of that campaign."

For more information about standing for council go to LABOUR COUNCILLORS WEBSITE.


Somerset County Council is currently Conservative controlled . The Tories regained the council in 2009 from the Lib Dems who had held it for 3 previous elections, sometimes with Labour holding the balance of power.

The last election in 2009 was shaded darkly by the 'expenses scandal' and everywhere all parties dropped 1,000's of votes as people failed to turn out in their droves. This massivelty affected the Labour vote in it's key areas  and we lost 2 of our 3 Bridgwater seats.

This time round the swing is tending to Labour and with the right candidates and campaign we can take back the Bridgwater seats and similarly take advantage of the collapse of the Lib Dems to even challenge the Tories in the outlying wards.

Bridgwater North/Central

This is basically the wards of Eastover and the old Sydenham estate which we retained in 2009 despite a collapse of 1300 votes. Our sitting councillor Dave Loveridge is also a town and district member and was first elected to Somerset in 1989. Other factors which affected the last election was the standing of a BNP candidate for the first time in this ward which meant a lot of none-Labour resources wand supporters ere committed to fight off the fascist threat which must have helped the labour vote. in the end the BNP was smashed but the Tory candidate was still only 20 votes behind.

                                                                                                       BRIDGWATER SOUTH

Bridgwater South
This ward has been Labour for as long as it has existed and encompasses the Hamp estate and the present westover ward which includes the town centre, west street and the docks. Sitting Labour councillor Pat Parker, who had won 2 previous elections and was a key player in County's youth provision and  with the SRB bid for Hamp, lost in a shock defeat to party chameleon Steve Gill who stood on that occaision as a tory  but switched to lib dem within a month of his election but has been rarely seen anywhere since.  One-man-coalition, Gill, won by 32 votes as the Labour vote slumped by 963. Whilst all parties votes slumped due to the anger at politicians generally, Labour were also in Government at the time and bearing the brunt of a media onslaught. At the subsequent Town and District elections in 2011 Labour re-took all Hamp  and Westover seats and with a good candidate and campaign should retake Bridgwater South.


Bridgwater West
Traditionally the Tory end of Bridgwater this seat became a Labour marginal when it was added to the Victoria ward making it a swing seat depending on which party is in the ascendancy. In 2001 Adrian Moore sensationally took it from the Tories but lost it in 2005 by 56 votes. In 2009 Graham Granter attempted to retake it for Labour but the swing was going the other way. However, Graham managed the highest Labour personal vote in the town for that election with 515. Tory councillor Ann Bown currently holds the seat and is nervously looking over her shoulder for her opponent in 2013 where we have a strong chance of a gain.

Bridgwater East & Bawdrip
This seat is based on the Bower and Dunwear ends of the town but has gradually been adapted to include less safe areas as Bawdrip, Chedzoy and Weston Zoyland , making it a swing marginal.  At the 2011 election the sitting   county councillor David Hall -now a county portfolio holder imposing some of the major cutbacks, lost his town and district seats to Labour who swept the board in  Dunwear and Fairfax wards. With a good candidate and a strong campaign labour could retake this final bBidgwater ward.

Last time round Labour didn't stand in this ward - which was a mistake. Historically it includes the Labour leaning seat of Woolavington which we had held for 20 years but lost to the Tories in 2010. Including the west polden villages of Pawlett and Puriton along with east and west Huntspill, it is a tough seat to win but with a strong local candidate and a lib dem collapse it should be targetted.

North Petherton
Whilst Pethy has never been a Labour seat it has often shown an 'independent tendancy' and has the feel that it's waiting for the right candidate to come along. Now including the heartily dissilusioned Stockmoor development it is a Labour gain waiting to happen.

The most solid tory seat of the 7 we're concentrating on, the Cannington ward includes Wembdon, Cannington, Combwich and all points to the Quantock ridge. With the libdem collapse the tories will expect an easy ride, but people may be surprised to know that the ward is one of Labours strongest in terms of members. Again the right campaign and candidate could cause a major upset in the most unlikely of places!! 

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