Former Peterborough MP and high profile councillor to contest city ward

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A former MP for Peterborough and a high profile councillor are to contest a ward in the forthcoming council elections.

Labour’s Lisa Forbes served as MP for 189 days in 2019, winning the seat in a by-election before losing to Conservative Paul Bristow at a subsequent General Election.

Ms Forbes, who had also stood for the constituency seat in 2015 and previously represented Orton Longueville on Peterborough City Council, is now seeking a return to the authority after being selected to stand in May’s local elections.

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And one her of opponents will be incumbent Andy Coles who has been the subject of protests from activists due to his time as a spy cop which saw him infiltrate animal rights organisations.

Lisa Forbes and Andy ColesLisa Forbes and Andy Coles
Lisa Forbes and Andy Coles

Conservative Mr Coles has been accused of deceiving a woman into having a relationship with him while working as an undercover officer, an accusation he has strenuously denied.

This year’s local elections - assuming they go ahead during the coronavirus pandemic - will have huge ramifications for the city’s future with the Tories currently running a minority administration with the support of the Werrington First group.

Should the party suffer a net loss in seats in May it is possible that opposition groups could come together to form a coalition and kick them out of power for the first time since 1999.

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The elections were due to take place last year with 22 out of 60 seats being contested, however, they were delayed for 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then two Conservative councillors - Andy’s wife Louise (Fletton & Woodston), and Janet Goodwin (Hargate & Hempsted) - have passed away, meaning their seats will also be filled this time around.

By-elections have not taken place for the seats due to the coronavirus pandemic, while Cllr Goodwin’s seat was also due to be contested this time around.

Cllr Coles will be joined by Andrew Willey in contesting both Fletton & Woodston seats, with Ms Forbes joined by Imtiaz Ali.

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Ms Forbes said: “For the last 22 years residents in Peterborough have been let down by a Conservative council that is unwilling or incapable of getting to grips with the big issues that matter to people that live and work here.

“The local government elections this year are vitally important. At a time when the coronavirus pandemic is creating uncertainty around job security, when people are furloughed on reduced pay and parents are struggling to juggle employment and childcare, whilst worrying about the safety of their families, it is time for new direction in Peterborough and for fresh ideas.

“After more than 20 years of a Conservative-controlled council it’s time to put an end to the neglect of our neighbourhoods. It’s time to tackle the anti-social behaviour and the fly-tipping and littering that blights our communities. It’s time to prioritise the education of our children. It’s time for change.

“More than ever, we need a Labour-run council that provides hope, restores real pride and invests in the services we desperately need for the people of this city.

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“Peterborough and its people mean so much to me. If elected by the residents of Fletton and Woodston I will be a strong voice, fighting to ensure they get a fair deal.”

Cllr Coles said: “I’m looking forward to standing in the local elections this year together with Andrew Willey, our candidate who is standing in my dear late wife Louise’s place.

“Covid will have a disproportionate impact on the upcoming local elections and we don’t yet know if they will go ahead in May, but whenever they take place we’re confident residents will know Louise and I worked hard to sort out local problems and I stand on that record.

“It will be interesting to see what local issues Lisa and Imtiaz choose to campaign on, but for Andrew Willey and I crime and anti-social behaviour has been an important issue, and cleaning up the local environment, particularly illegal drug waste, has been a regular concern which we have had some success in preventing.

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“We’re keeping an eye on developments of affordable housing in Woodston, housing which local people need and where plans are now in the pipeline.

“Other big developments promoted by the Conservatives, such as a new city swimming pool and the new university on the Embankment, are also going to have a positive impact on our local area and we look forward to seeing them completed during the next term of office.”

The Green Party has yet to select its candidates.

The Peterborough Telegraph has contacted the Liberal Democrats about its candidates.

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