Jailed ex-mayor and big names among candidates for Peterborough City Council elections
A former mayor jailed for electoral fraud, an ex-UKIP leadership contestant and several former MP candidates are standing in May's local elections.
Eighteen seats out of 60 on Peterborough City Council will be contested on Thursday, May 3, with two former council leaders seeking re-election.
One of the most high-profile candidates is Mohammad Choudhary who is standing as an independent in Central ward.
The former Labour Mayor of Peterborough was jailed for electoral fraud but told the Peterborough Telegraph late last year: “I feel that I’m able to represent people in a better way. I have continued working for the community.”
Mr Choudhary had previously declared he had been selected as a candidate for the Conservatives which was confirmed locally by the Tories, although a Conservative spokesman later denied a candidate had been chosen for the seat.
A number of former parliamentary candidates are also standing, as well as UKIP’s Lisa Duffy (Stanground South) who came second in the party’s national leadership contest in September 2016.
Meanwhile, the owner of Maharanis restaurant in Hampton, Mohammed Farooq, is standing for the Conservatives in Hargate and Hempsted.
Mr Farooq won the British Empire Medal for raising thousands of pounds for charity.
Former cabinet member Nigel North (Fletton and Woodston) is also standing for the Conservatives as he seeks to win a place back on the council.
Currently, the Conservatives hold 30 seats on the council, while the Labour group hold 15.
The Liberal Democrats are the next largest party with five seats, followed by the Liberal Party and Werrington First with three each.
UKIP also have two seats and there are two independents.
Labour are defending seven seats while the Tories are defending six.
Two Liberal Democrats are also defending seats, while the Liberal Party, UKIP and Werrington First are all defending one.
Big names up for re-election include former council leaders Marco Cereste (Hampton Vale) and John Peach (Park), as well as current cabinet members Irene Walsh (who is moving from Hargate and Hempsted to Orton Longueville) and Gavin Elsey (Orton Waterville).
Deputy Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ray Bisby is defending Stanground South for the Conservatives, while Labour group leader Ed Murphy (Ravensthorpe) and Werrington First group leader Stephen Lane (Werrington) are also defending their seats.
Three sitting Labour councillors who are not seeking re-election are: Ann Sylvester (Bretton), Alan Clark (Fletton & Stanground) and Nazim Khan (North).
Cllr Jo Johnson is also giving up her East ward seat to try and win the seat in Bretton.
Former Mayor of Peterborough Keith Sharp, who is a Liberal Party councillor in Dogsthorpe, is not seeking re-election.
The Green Party will also try again to win a first ever seat on the council as it puts up a candidate in every ward.
Roughly a third of the council seats are contested every year for three years. There are then no elections in the fourth year, with the cycle then beginning again the year after that.