ELECTION 2017: West Norfolk councillor quits Tories and stands as independent in county polls

Election day and the Ripper Hall became the village polling station.
Election day and the Ripper Hall became the village polling station.
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A West Norfolk councillor has announced his resignation from the authority’s ruling Conservative group, after it was confirmed he will be an independent candidate in next month’s county elections.

Patrick Rochford was elected as one of three borough councillors for Gaywood North Bank two years ago as a Tory.

But he will now contest the Gaywood North and Central county division as an independent on May 4, against the nominated Conservative candidate, Sheila Young.

Mr Rochford, who will now sit as a non-aligned borough councillor, said in a statement this morning that he would not fight his former Conservative colleagues.

But he added: “I was elected to represent a ward to the best of my ability, which after two years I know means having somebody who will actually put in the work at County Hall. We desperately need a new county councillor – the outgoing UKIP county councillor has failed to do the job he was elected.

“I am asking the residents of Gaywood North and Central to back the man many of them already have as a local councillor, who they know will stand up for them.

“I have always put the interests of my ward first. I feel it is my duty to represent them in Norwich, where they know I will do what Lib-Lab-UKIP and the Greens never could, and actually fight for our town.”

“I will be a full time councillor, someone who is young, dedicated, and energetic and not somebody simply topping up their pension.

“I am motivated by what is best for the people who live in the division, that is why I am running.”

Three other candidates will contest the seat: Labour’s John Collop, incumbent councillor Jim Perkins for UKIP and the Liberal Democrats’ Ian Swinton.

In total, 54 candidates are contesting the 14 county council seats within West Norfolk.

Among the sitting councillors not standing again are Dersingham’s John Dobson, Jason Law in Freebridge Lynn and Richard Bird, who held the North Coast division.

The full list of candidates is as follows:

Clenchwarton and King’s Lynn South: Chris Crofts (Con), Deborah Holman (Lab), Alexandra Kemp (Ind), Trevor Roberts (UKIP).

Dersingham: Stuart Dark (Con), Harry Lane (LD), Ed Robb (Lab).

Docking: Michael Chenery (Con), Adrianne Lake (Lab), David Mills (LD).

Downham Market: Jackie Crookston (Lab), Josie Ratcliffe (LD), Tony White (Con), Dave Williams (UKIP).

Fakenham: Imogen Bruce (Lab), Tom FitzPatrick (Con), Hugh Lanham (LD), Jenny Outred (Grn), Jack Smith (UKIP).

Feltwell: John Crofts (LD), Martin Storey (Con), Peter Wortley (Lab).

Fincham: Ashley Collins (UKIP), Sam Gipson (Lab), Brian Long (Con), Carol Renard (LD).

Freebridge Lynn: Michael de Whalley (Grn), Simon Eyre (Con), Wilf Lambert (Lab), Christine Perkins (UKIP), Simon Wells (LD).

Gayton and Nar Valley: John Corden (UKIP), Graham Middleton (Con), Natasha Morgan (Lab), Andrew Nixon (LD).

Gaywood North and Central: John Collop (Lab), Jim Perkins (UKIP), Patrick Rochford (Ind), Ian Swinton (LD), Sheila Young (Con).

Gaywood South: Rob Colwell (LD), Thomas Smith (Con), Michael Stone (UKIP), Margaret Wilkinson (Lab).

King’s Lynn North and Central: David Collis (Lab), Richard Coward (LD), Matty Hannay (UKIP), Toby Wing-Pentelow (Con).

Marshland North: Erika Coward (LD), Izik Kruh-Atar (Lab), Sandra Squire (Con).

Marshland South: Harry Humphrey (Con), Robin Mann (Lab), Colin Rose (UKIP), Steven White (LD).

Necton and Launditch: Mark Kiddle-Morris (Con, Joe Sisto (Lab).

North Coast: Christine Hudson (Lab), Andrew Jamieson (Con), Debbie Le May (UKIP), Simon Wilson (LD).

Swaffham: Ed Colman (Con), Kate Sayer (LD), Paul Smyth (UKIP), Philip Wagstaff (Lab).

The Brecks: Brenda Canham (Lab), Fabian Eagle (Con), Ian Minto (LD), Sandra Walmsley (Grn).

Wells: Kara Betts (Grn), Stephen Burke (Lab), John Dymond (UKIP), Becky Palmer (Con), Marie Strong (LD).

An election will also be held for the Suttons division of Lincolnshire County Council seat, which covers Sutton Bridge. The nominated candidates there are Chris Brewis (Ind), Paul Gowen (Lab) and Jack Tyrrell (Con).