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Can you help the campaign to replace a new Labour MP with a Conservative in his old council seat?

By Jonathan Isaby

BALLOT BOX 1 We don't usually cover local by-election campaigns on ConHome, but there is one contest taking place a week today which is especially worthy of note.

Bill Esterson narrowly won the Merseyside seat of Sefton Central for Labour at the general election. However, it would seem that he had his doubts about whether he would win that seat since he opted to remain a member of Medway Council more than 250 miles away in Kent, until he discovered the result of the general election.

So he has now resigned as councillor for River ward and the contest to replace him is entering his final week.

As local MP Mark Reckless explains:

"It is in a split ward where we won one seat and Labour the other at our last local elections in May 2007. I'd be really delighted if we could pick up the other seat as we have an excellent candidate in David Craggs, a local headmaster, and Craig Mackinlay, our current councillor for the ward, is leading a really strong and well organised campaign.

"Another reason to support the campaign is that Bill Esterson has used his new position to talk down Medway - specifically the standard of education and grammar schools - and attack Michael Gove for reviewing funding for three academies, despite the fact that he opposed funding them when he was Labour's education spokesman in Medway. Worse, he avoided scrutiny of his inconsistency in the Commons by flouting convention and not notifying either me, Tracey Crouch or Rehman Chisthi that he was going to refer to our constituencies on the floor of the House and then, when Rehman Chisthi sprinted to the chamber to respond, refused three times to take an intervention."

Anyone wanting to assist to assist the campaign should email Craig Mackinlay.


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