Former leader Marco Cereste seeks Peterborough City Council comeback

Marco Cereste with Stewart Jackson
Marco Cereste with Stewart Jackson

The controversial former leader of Peterborough City Council, Marco Cereste, is seeking a comeback in May it has been claimed.

Current council leader Councillor John Holdich confirmed that Mr Cereste wants to be chosen by the Conservatives to stand in the forthcoming election, but that with only one spot left he is not on the list of selected candidates.

After six years as council leader, Mr Cereste lost his seat as councillor for Stanground Central last year, polling 18 per cent of the vote.

At the time he said he would spend more time with his wife and four children while also focusing on his businesses.

His tenure on the council was marked by a poor relationship with Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson, with the pair clashing over proposed energy parks on council farmland which never came to fruition and eventually cost the council over £3 million.

Responding to the news that Mr Cereste was seeking re-election, fellow Conservative Mr Jackson said: “My view is that I think Marco should accept the verdict of the voters of Stanground and turn a new page and try to move on.

“We have a new city council leader and there will be a new Conservative group after May with fresh priorities and ambitions, and frankly his presence will only draw attention to division and disharmony which isn’t good for the Conservative Party or the city council.”

Mr Cereste’s candidacy is being decided by the North West Cambridgeshire branch of the Conservatives.

The MP for the constituency, Shailesh Vara, praised Mr Cereste and said he still had plenty to offer in Peterborough.

Mr Vara said: “The selection of council candidates in my constituency is carried out by the local Conservative Association and MPs have traditionally taken no part in the selection process. That remains the case with the selection of candidates for the forthcoming elections.

“Marco is a man of huge talent and ability and has much to contribute to the local community. I have no doubt that he will continue to play a major part in our area.”

Mr Cereste was a boisterous presence as council leader after replacing Cllr John Peach in the role.

Council meetings were often typified by his passion for the city and the achievements he said had been secured under his tenure.

The energy parks were just one of several ambitious schemes he looked at introducing into Peterborough, but nothing ever came from water taxis and a roof for the Lido.

Cllr Holdich said: “Marco did put his name down as a candidate and is still being considered. At this point in time he is not on the list.”

Mr Holdich would not say which ward still had a vacant seat, but he expects a decision on who will be its candidate by the end of the month.

The Peterborough Telegraph was unable to make contact with Mr Cereste at the time of going to press.