Nottinghamshire County Council elections 2021: who are the key parties in Mansfield?
With elections looming, we take a look at some of the candidates and parties campaigning for a seat.
With well-known Conservative candidates such as Mansfield’s MP Ben Bradley and Labour representatives such as the town’s executive mayor Andy Abrahams the district has a raft of prospective candidates from Liberal Democrats and the Mansfield Independents standing alongside Independents and relative newcomers the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.
We spoke to a selection of candidates to see how electioneering is going, and the key points of their campaign.
Ben Bradley came under fire when it was announced that he was standing for a county council seat in Mansfield North alongside his full-time MP job, however the 31-year-old politician insists the role would be an asset to his current position and would be the ‘best way to get the job done’.
In a recent interview, Ben said: “MPs can work with government to get things done, so we’re hoping to get more representation at County level to get things moving more quickly.
"Obviously a key focus, as it is for many, will be to sort out the condition of the roads as we know it affects everyone.
"This is one of many areas we will campaign for, alongside ensuring the district recovers from COVID-19.
"It’s the first election for county level since our ‘red wall’ victory, so it will be really interesting to see how the results go.”
Andy Abrahams was also compelled to defend his choice of standing for a seat in Mansfield South alongside his role as executive mayor.
Standing alongside Maxi Leigh, he says their male/female team has ‘the right blend of caring skills and pragmatic experience’ to improve the lives of residents.
Andy was a chartered civil engineer for 25 years, spent 15 years in education and is currently the Leader of Mansfield District Council.
Maxi is the founder of the charity ‘Support for Survivors’, a former Governor of the NHS Nottinghamshire Mental Health Foundation Trust and has a long history of advocacy support for mental health, trauma and assisting with housing, parenting and benefits.
Andy said: “Our pledges are to strengthen our communities, protect our environment, and care for all our residents, supporting families and children.
"We will tackle social isolation and invest and improve our libraries and bus services.
"We will stimulate the local economy by ensuring Mansfield is part of the Green Investment Fund that will reduce pollution, improve air quality as we work towards being carbon neutral by 2030.
"Labour will ensure women’s voices are heard, and is the party that cares.”
The Liberal Democrats have also courted controversy in this year’s election by focusing their efforts solely on Mansfield South, with two key candidates of Andy Rimmer and Thorsten Altenkirch hoping to secure votes.
Their key ethos for this campaign is ‘putting the individual first’ and campaigning for ‘a caring county and a green county’.
Andy works for the NHS in the local area and was previously a Mansfield district councillor until 1995.
After working in London as an administrator for two councils and in Ibiza, Andy returned to Mansfield in 2017.
Andy said: “As a county councillor, listening to local people will be my priority.
"I will always keep residents informed.
“We are campaigning for a greener, more caring Nottinghamshire.”
A relatively new kid on the block are the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, who have seven candidates standing, with Ken Bonsall, lead singer of Ferocious Dog surprising Warsop residents with his name on the ballot paper.
Tom Hunt is standing in Mansfield North, and the 59-year-old NHS nurse says he is proud to stand for the coalition founded by the late Bob Crow.
Candidates for TUSC have the autonomy to create their own campaigns, however must agree to a core policy of seven principals, such as opposing all cuts, supporting workers’ rights and rejecting council tax, rent and service charge increases as a means to bridge the gap of central government funding cuts.
Tom said: “As a nurse since 1980, I have watched the service I love being dismantled via privatisation and outsourcing, which the pandemic has highlighted more than ever.
"I want to campaign for jobs, housing and services for all.
"I am not a politician, but there comes a time when you have to come forward and fight for what is right.”
Mick Barton is no stranger to politics, having 18 years experience as a councillor at Mansfield District Council.
He is standing for Mansfield North alongside Steve Bodle for Mansfield Independents.
The 55-year-old worked in the coal industry for 10 years, before moving into cars and finally becoming self-employed, and says his key ethos is ‘getting things done’.
Councillor Barton said: “Our party is about putting residents first – we speak to the public, do polls, and make sure residents’ concerns are at the heart of everything we do.
"That’s where we’re different to traditional parties.
“Our key focuses from speaking to voters are the roads, of course, alongside school places for children.
"I get a lot of satisfaction from fighting for residents and making their lives better.”
Philip Shields is another candidate who is no stranger to politics.
Growing up in Warsop, he opted for a career in politics after watching his mother as councillor for the Netherfield ward from 2003 to 2011.
He describes himself as ‘not a political person’ but says his fortunate position of being available 24/7 makes him a good fit for the role as an Independent candidate.
Coun Shields said: “I grew up in Warsop and my family still live here, so I will always campaign for residents in the area.
"I believe that local elections should be about local issues, not whatever the party line is.
"As one of a growing number of Independent candidates, we are campaigning for what matters to residents, and I am in a great position due to having the time to commit to the role."