Battle lines are drawn as countdown begins

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“Bring it on” - that is the message from a South Holland Conservative leader as political parties throw down the gauntlet for the Lincolnshire County Council elections.

After sweeping the boards with a majority of 60 the last election in 2009, the battle for Tory seats on Thursday, May 2, promises to be the most exciting in years.

Immigration seems to be the hot topic that is seeing Labour fighting every seat in the 10 South Holland and South Kesteven wards and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) stirring up the opposition in eight of them.

Coun Gary Porter is urging South Holland residents to get out and make their voices heard with their vote.

He said: “It’s going to be a really interesting contest. This is the first election there has been a full set of Labour and UKIP candidates in South Holland wards and the first that has not been run on the back of a General or European election.

“This is bound to have an impact on the Independents because, historically, there has never been other anti-Conservative candidates.”

However, Coun Porter is still confident they will pull through. He said: “Nationally we are expecting to lose about 4-500 votes. But if the Conservative candidates work hard I have every confidence they will win.”

As well as Labour and UKIP candidates, the Conservatives face challenges from Independents, Liberal Demoncrats, the Green Party, Lincolnshire Independents, the British National Party and the English People’s Party.

Rob Parker, leader of the Labour group on Lincolnshire County Council, said: “We are delighted that we are standing candidates in every seat in Lincolnshire at this year’s elections.

“We know that people in Lincolnshire are worried about the Tory-led government’s cuts to tax credits, the implementation of the bedroom tax, and cuts to maternity benefits - all at the same time as they give a tax cut to millionaires.

“We also know that a lot of people in Lincolnshire are worried about the impacts of immigration. We have to address the challenges we face right across the county. As a Labour group we are looking at how we manage the issue of immigration, from tackling unscrupulous employers, to ensuring that people know how to speak English and looking at the impacts of immigration on our road, schools and health services.

“Labour didn’t get everything right when we were in government, but it is important that we don’t shy away from the difficult issues. The people of Lincolnshire deserve better.”

Whoever wins the county council seats faces tough challenges ahead. Tony McArdle, chief executive and returning officer, said: “Councillors have to make tough choices, which are tougher than ever given the difficult economic times we live in.

“That is why it’s important you play your part in the process by making your choice by voting in person, by post or by proxy.”