Could his intervention thwart the Tories?
Probably the biggest election, certainly in terms of the number of voters involved, in the UK before the general election takes place in Bedford in October when there’s a by-election for the post of elected mayor.
This follows the death a fortnight ago of the union activist turned multi-millionaire media entrepreneur, Frank Branston, who had held the position since it was created six years ago.
What’s interesting is that he was an independent who had built up a group of independent councillors some of whom who were given by Martin Bell endorsements in the June 4th council elections.
The man in the white suit allowed his picture and his backing to feature strongly in the campaign and the question arises over whether there’ll be a Bell endorsement in the mayoral race. After all a hold by an independent would give momentum to the movement he seems to be trying to get going.
The borough covers the whole of the Labour ultra-marginal of Bedford as well as parts of solid blue mid-Beds and and NE Beds Westminster seats.
This is an election the Tories really have to win in the run-up to the general election – yet in June they had their poorest local results in the country there. At the same time the Lib Dems had their best performance anywhere and a good result in the mayoral race would be a boost for the party after the run of Westminster by election disappointments.
But could an independent with Martin Bell’s backing upset the apple-cart?.