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Kent County Council Elections 2013 - Shepway Lib Dem Candidates

April 5, 2013 9:11 AM

Shepway Liberal Democrats are fielding a full team of six candidates across the Shepway electoral divisions in the Kent County Council elections.

The Liberal Democrats have been the official opposition to the Conservatives in Kent for the last 4 years, with the Labour party reduced to a tiny three Councillors across the entire county. The Liberal Democrats have spoken out against the Conservative administration's waste on out-size pay-offs to high level former officers, cutting free to-school transport for Grammar schools and even increasing Councillor allowances at the very first meeting of the new Council. Over four years after the collapse of Icelandic banks put over £50 million of Kent's reserves into jeopardy, around £16 million is STILL in Iceland with no guarantee that it will ever all be repaid.

The elections come at a time where the Conservatives are in disarray in Shepway, with many past supporters refusing to back them after a range of disaster decisions including introducing on-street parking charges in Folkestone, consulting on siting a high-level nuclear dump in Shepway and employing litter police who caused fury in Shepway through their targetting tactics and subsequently went into administration.

The Liberal Democrat candidates for the Kent County Council elections on 2nd May 2013 are:

  • Elham Valley - Tom McNeice
  • Folkestone North-East - Lynne Beaumont
  • Folkestone South - Gary Fuller
  • Folkestone West - Tim Prater
  • Hythe - Neil Matthews
  • Romney Marsh - Ted Last

In the last elections in 2009, Tim Prater won a stunning victory in Folkestone West, overturning a large Conservative majority to win by just 11 votes. Tim Prater will again be taking on Conservative candidate Robert Bliss, who as Leader of Shepway District Council has overseen the introduction of on-street parking charges. With the Conservatives fielding other high-profile Shepway Cabinet members in the County Council elections, its widely predicted that the Conservatives will lose further seats in Shepway this time around.

Tom McNeice

Tom McNeice and plaqueTom has previously been a Shepway District Councillor and Folkestone Town Councillor, including a year as Mayor of Folkestone. Tom is a retired Trading Standards officer and a long standing Foster parent who with his wife the Rev. Kate McNeice has fostered over 60 children.

Tom is a Board Member for two not for profit companies, Folkestone Town Centre Management Ltd which is helping to regenerate the Town Centre and The John Bowley House and Sherwood Homes Ltd which among other things runs two alms houses locally which cater for local people. Tom is also a keen Rotarian and is currently the Chair of the Folkestone Rotary Youth Opportunities Committee.

Tom is a seasoned campaigner and will work tirelessly for people in his division and wants this area to be a 'must visit' destination for visitors. We live in a wonderful part of the Country and should be telling the world how lucky we are.

You can find Tom on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cllrtom

Lynne Beaumont

Lynne Beaumont

Lynne is a Shepway District Councillor and Folkestone Town Councillor for Park ward within the Folkestone North-West Division, having won two stunning by-elections there in November 2012, seizing the seats back from the Conservatives.

Lynne has a huge campaigning record on local and national issues, including running the "Save K College" campaign when education at the Folkestone site was under threat only 6 months ago, fighting cuts to local services in our Fire Service and Police Force and the closure of the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Lynne is also the co-founder of the FairFuelUK campaign, working to keep fuel prices down and oppose on-going increases in fuel duty to British motorists and businesses. In the last 2 years, Fairfueluk has saved £21 billion on the cost of fuel. This is a saving of 12 pence on every litre of fuel you put in your car. To do this you have to change Government policy: no mean feat!

You can find Lynne on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lynnebeaumont

Gary Fuller

Gary Fuller at Spring Conference 2013 (Photo taken by Dave Radcliffe)

Gary served for four years as a Folkestone Town Councillor for Harvey Central ward, supporting local charities such as Headway, and is now a Parish Councillor in Sandgate. A former lecturer, governer and union representative, 33 year old father of three Gary is a campaigner for improved education, housing, public transport and mental health support.

Gary has been humorously nicknamed "Captain Complainer" by the Folkestone Herald for his tireless efforts in getting Kent Highways to fill in the many potholes blighting our town.

You can find Gary on Twitter at www.twitter.com/garymarkfuller and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/garyfuller.libdem

Tim Prater

Tim Prater on Sandgate Beach

County Councillor Tim Prater won the Folkestone West County Division from the Conservatives in 2009. Tim lives and works in Sandgate in Folkestone West division, and in the last four years has overseen almost £100,000 of highways improvements in the area including spending on new bus shelters, dropped kerbs, footpath improvements and road safety schemes.

Tim has pioneered the practice of giving local residents the power to make decisions on local grants in Shepway - the only Shepway County Councillor to do so. In the last year alone, Folkestone West residents allocated around £25,000 of funding to groups for projects that benefit Folkestone West residents.

Tim also successfully led opposition to the recent Conservative proposed streetlighting turn-offs on the A259 through Folkestone and Sandgate, highlighting the dangers of leaving stretches of those roads - some well used by pedestrians - entirely dark at night. Tim continues to work to stop the proposed turn-off of lights by the staff entrance to the Channel Tunnel, arguing that as a 24 hour operation with the need for fast emergency service access, the safety of staff and passengers cound be put at risk.

As the Liberal Democrat Finance Spokesman on Kent County Council, Tim has helped lead the fight in holding the Conservative administration to account, including seeking to reverse Conservative budget cuts to school transport, challenging increases in allowances to Councillors and fighting for a fair deal for Kent taxpayers.

Tim is the only County Councillor from Shepway to claim NO expenses from Kent taxpayers over the last 4 years, saying that he feels the allowances paid to Councillors should cover those expenses. Conservative County Councillors from Shepway claimed over £26,000 of additional expenses in the period 2009-12 alone.

You can find Tim on Twitter at www.twitter.com/timprater and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/timprater.

Neil Matthews

Neil Matthews

Neil is a former Shepway District Councillor and Hythe Town Councillor and has also been Mayor of Hythe.

A Hythe resident for many years, Neil has campaigned for Hythe and is currently supporting the campaign against the development of Princes Parade, and also fought the development of Fishermans Beach.

You can find Neil on Twitter at www.twitter.com/neilmatthews1

Ted Last

Ted Last

Lydd resident Ted has a long association with Romney Marsh, having lived here for many years, and has now moved back to the area after retirement.

A Lydd Town Councillor, Ted is passionate about seeing new high-skilled job opportunities created on Romney Marsh, and as a former headteacher is also determined to see a fair deal for Marsh schoolchildren.

Ted has also been concerned for some time about the Kent Fire and Rescue Service provision on the Marsh, particularly the minimal crewing of appliances.

Having enjoyed the openness of the Marsh for forty years, and acknowledging the need for renewable energy needs to be convinced that Denge Marsh and Walland Marsh are the right places for more wind farms.