Bury Free Press - April 2017

Now that the Easter holidays have passed, my attention has turned to the election season.  In a fortnight, on Thursday 4 May, local elections will take place at a polling station near you.  All 75 councillors in the Suffolk County Council elections will be elected from 63 electoral divisions which will return either one or two county councillors each by a first-past-the-post vote for a four-year term of office. Although, typically, local elections do not garner the same amount of press coverage as a general elections, nor the same numbers of people that get out to vote – local elections are as important, or as some may argue, more important, than general elections.  This is because the decisions made at a local level have the capacity to affect our lives on a daily basis.  They are also the decisions that result in the changes around us that we can see every day when we step out of our front doors.  Elected county councillors have a control over a great many areas of life including education, fire and rescue services, consumer services and planning, waste disposal, highways, and social services and they work to reflect the views of their local communities.

The Conservative Party is fielding a very strong selection of candidates in the County Council elections. They are candidates Mary Evans (Clare), Joanna Spicer (Blackbourn), Rachel Hood (Exning & Newmarket), Robin Millar (Newmarket & Red Lodge), Colin Noble (Row Heath) Louis Busuttil (Mildenhall), Karen Soons (Thingoe South), Stephen Frost (Brandon), David Roach (Haverhill East & Kedington), Paula Fox (Haverhill Cangle) and also from the same electoral division, Quillon Fox (Haverhill Cangle).   They have a variety of local government experience with a wide range of skills and personal and professional interests.  I can attest to their professionalism, commitment and dedication to the role of County Councillor that each hope to take on for the next four years.  I have worked with many of these candidates on a number of local issues in the past seven years since being elected Member of Parliament for West Suffolk. In their previous roles as either county councillors, district councillors, town councillors or parish councillors, the partnership between them as councillors and me in my role as the local MP, has been both extremely strong and successful.   Together, we have made much progress on issues that affect our local surroundings such as roads, broadband and planning and development.  I will be hitting the streets in my support of these excellent candidates by knocking on doors and talking to residents to find out what local issues are most important to them.  It is only by speaking face to face with the electorate that we can identify and then tackle the issue that are most important to them.

I very much hope that you will join me and take part in these local elections – by meeting the candidates to learn more about them and their views on local issues and then by getting out to vote on Thursday, 4 May.  Voting is our democratic right and probably the most important thing we can do as citizens.  The count will take place on 5 May – there will be no overnight counting this year.  With the strength of these Conservative candidates and the fantastic work that Suffolk County Council has done over the past 4 years since the last election – I am expecting Conservative victories in these divisions and the return to overall Conservative majority and control of Suffolk County Council. 

If you would like to contact me about this issue or any other matter, or you feel that there is a problem I could help you with, please do get in touch. I am always keen to hear from constituents and will do my best to help. I can be contacted via email at matthew.hancock.mp@parliament.uk or by phone on 01638 576 692.