Friday, 25 October 2013

Tory Leader Quits: Who's Next?

Leader of the Opposition on Reading Borough Council, Tory Tim Harris, has confirmed that he is to stand down at the next election. With Labour piling up over 50% of the vote last time in Church Ward, the only question was whether he would try to chicken run to another seat or give up altogether. Well, now we know.

Former leader of the Lib Dems Daisy Benson is also widely believed to be following Harris out of the council next May, rather than face defeat in Redlands.

That's two Labour gains.

So who else will quit - or be thrown out?

No political contest in Abbey or Battle wards.

In Caversham, where Labour won so convincingly last time against the Tory incumbent, former Tory leader Andrew Cumpsty faces an awkward decision. Will he stay or will he go?

Katesgrove Lib Dem Rebecca Rye has already said she's leaving. Another Labour gain in prospect.

Labour is on the rise again in Kentwood beating the sitting Tory last time, so every chance of Tory Jenny Rynn losing if she braves it out.

No election in Mapledurham and no real contest in Minster and Norcot.

In Park ward the Green vote is softening at an alarming rate so Rob White's future is by no means secure.

Peppard is a dog's breakfast as the Tory in-fighting continues.

There is no reason to believe there will be any changes in Southcote, Thames or Whitley, which only leaves Tilehurst, where current Lib Dem leader Ricky Duveen faces a fresh Tory challenge. The Lib Dems threw huge resources into this ward last time, but I'm not convinced that even a repeat effort by them will bring the old boy back in 30 weeks time.

What is guaranteed is that there will be many new faces in the council chamber after the May 2014 elections, most of them on the Labour benches as the group refreshes and expands it's team.



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