Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Have a go and Stand for election!

People in Hartlepool who think they could do a better job than their existing Councillors are being challenged to have a go and stand for election.

Stephen Allison and Martyn Aiken, two of the 47 Hartlepool Borough Councillors are holding an open session at the Grand Hotel on Saturday the 27th of March between 10.00am and 1.00pm explaining exactly what people need to do in order to stand for election.

Stephen Allison, a UKIP Member of Hartlepool Borough Council, said; "Many people in Hartlepool tell me they think their local Councillors are rubbish. In some cases they may be right but just complaining never changed anything!" Stephen, who represents the St.Hilda Ward, continued; "The procedures for standing for election can be quite daunting if you have never done it before. Martyn and I will be at the Grand Hotel to answer questions and try to de-mystify the process."

You do not need to be a UKIP member to attend the open session, nor do you need to stand as a UKIP Candidate should you decide you want to give it a go in May. UKIP are committed to local democracy and want to encourage more participation even if that means independent candidates who may possibly end up standing in the same wards as UKIP’s own party candidates.

The open session will cover who can stand as a councilor, what the procedures are and how much it costs to put your name on a local election ballot paper. According to Martyn Aiken it is the cost that usually surprises people. "To stand in a General Election a Candidate needs to put up a £500 deposit. However for local elections there is no deposit required" explained Councillor Aiken of Foggy Furze Ward "Nothing, zero, not a penny. You fill in a couple of forms and hand them in to the Civic Centre and that's it, your name goes into the hat."

Candidates do have to pay for any leaflets they distribute during the election but with the cost of photocopying these days a simple black on white leaflet can be produced very cheaply. "The cost shouldn’t scare off anyone" said Eric Wilson, Chairman of the UKIP Hartlepool Branch, "UKIP normally allocate about £60 to a ward campaign in the local elections. Of course the bigger parties can afford a bit more at the moment but UKIP are still growing, unlike the Lib/Lab/Con who are losing members ever day."

You can stand for election to Hartlepool Council if you are 18 or over, A British, Commonwealth, Irish or European Union citizen, and you are registered to vote in Hartlepool or if you have lived, worked or owned property in Hartlepool for at least 12 months. You cannot stand for election if you are bankrupt, have been sentenced to 3 or more months in prison in the last 5 years, have been disqualified for corrupt and illegal practices or you are an employee of Hartlepool Council or hold a politically-restricted post in any other council.

Anyone who would like more information about the event can contact Dave Pascoe, UKIP Hartlepool Press Officer on 01429 223754, e-mail or just turn up on the day.

To see what the Hartlepool Mail did with this story, click here

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