Former Peterborough City Council leader Marco Cereste chosen to stand in May's elections

Marco Cereste will stand for the Conservatives in May's Peterborough City Council elections.

Monday, 7th March 2016, 4:30 pm
Updated Monday, 7th March 2016, 5:21 pm
City Elections 14 at Kingsgate. Marco Cereste at the count. EMN-140523-085849009

The controversial former leader, who surprisingly lost his seat in Stanground Central last year, will stand to be a councillor in Hampton Vale.

Mr Cereste was the last of the candidates to be picked by the North West Cambridgeshire Conservatives with the decision made on Friday last week (March 4).

The current council leader is Councillor John Holdich who is pleased to see Mr Cereste attempt a return to front-line politics.

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He said: “I welcome him back with his experience and passion for the city. All parties could use somebody with his knowledge and drive.”

Mr Cereste, who spent six years as leader of the council after replacing Cllr John Peach, will be unable to stand as the leader again for at least a year.

This is because nominations to be the local Conservative Party leader, who will be chosen at the party’s annual AGM, can only come from sitting councillors.

The AGM is shortly after the May 5 election, but nominations have to be in before that date.

Cllr Peter Hiller, chairman of the North West Cambridgeshire Association, said Mr Cereste had contributed to the growth and regeneration of the city.

He added: “Marco has been selected unanimously by the executive of the North West Cambridgeshire Conservatives.

“Marco has colossal experience in local politics and we think he would make a particularly effective member of the Conservative group and the Peterborough City Council administration.”

Mr Cereste’s tenure as council leader 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.

Mr Jackson has previously declared his opposition to Mr Cereste attempting a return to the council and responding to the latest announcement he said: “It isn’t my constituency and the Peterborough Conservative Association would not have supported his candidature but I feel sure Marco will do better in Hampton Vale than in the last two safe Conservative wards he’s managed to lose.”

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara has previously described Mr Cereste as a man of “huge talent and ability” with “much to contribute to the local community.”