07:50 Wednesday 4th May 2011
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
ANDY GALL: Tomorrow many of you will be voting in local elections across the county. 477 candidates are competing in 154 seats across 5 District Councils and Peterborough City Council. That’s as well as the Alternative Vote referendum. With the latest news, and looking ahead to tomorrow, I’m joined by our political reporter Steve Titman, who’s with us. Good morning Steve.
STEVE TITMAN: Good morning Andy.
ANDY GALL: Now what are we expecting to happen in the local elections in Cambridgeshire?
STEVE TITMAN: Well, even though these local elections are about local issues, many people are expected to vote politically. So if people who voted for the LibDems at last year’s General Election are unhappy with the Coalition, they may protest and vote Labour. The Labour Party themselves across Cambridgeshire say they are looking to pick up votes from both Coalition partners. And other parties such as UKIP, the Greens and the Independents will be hoping for this as well. The vote will also give us some idea of what the public really thinks about the cuts and the savings which our councils are having to make at the moment, and will have to continue to make for at least another three or four years.
ANDY GALL: OK. What about the control of individual councils? Could this change after tomorrow’s vote?
STEVE TITMAN: Well in Peterborough it’s probably going to be quite difficult. At the moment, the Council is led in Peterborough by the Conservatives, and their leader Marco Cereste. They have 40 seats out of 57, so they have a big majority. So when they put something forward, they find it quite easy to vote it through. The rest of the other 17 councillors are a combo of Independents, LibDems, Labour, English Democrats and the Liberals. Now for the Tories to lose power, well in a sense lose control of the Council, they would need to lose 12 of their 15 (note: 14) seats up for election this year. So it’s going to be quite difficult. However, it’s a lot easier for us to lose the Leader. Marco Cereste competes in Stanground Central tomorrow. He has a 100 vote majority, strong opponents, and it could be arrivederci Marco. We’ll find out tomorrow, 4am on Friday morning. Another one in Peterborough to look out for is Simon Potter. who’s a former local newsreader. He’s an English Democrat, and is hoping to cause a shock in Northborough by unseating Cabinet member Peter Hiller.
ANDY GALL: Are there any Independents then in the campaign at all? They’re all from generic parties? There’s nobody ..?
STEVE TITMAN: No there’s lots of Independents. You’ve got Independents like Charlie Swift, who’s standing. He’s been a councillor for 55 years. He’s up in North ward. Bob Burke, he’s standing in Werrington South. He’s a former Mayor. No there’s many Independents. In fact, Peterborough’s Independent Forum, which is the Independent councillors combined with the Liberals, there’s 9 of those at the moment, are kind of the main opposition. So the Independents are pretty strong in Peterborough.
ANDY GALL: What’s the word on the street? Can we expect big turnouts do you think, or is there a bit of apathy this time of year?
STEVE TITMAN: I think last year in Peterborough we saw many wards returning between 60% and 70%, which is pretty high really. But you’ve got to combine that, that they’re already voting for the General Election. There was a lot of dissatisfaction with Gordon Brown, which is probably more of a motivation, going out and getting rid of someone that you don’t like, than coming out and voting Yes or No for AV. So I think we are expecting turnouts of over 40%. If there was any less, politicians might have to ask themselves some questions. I guess, if the turnout is less than 40% for the AV vote, that undermines that as well.
ANDY GALL: Indeed. And when will we have the results then? Will it be overnight, or do you think it will be in the early hours of the morning?
STEVE TITMAN: Well we’ll have the Peterborough results over Friday night. There’s a special show on Radio Cambridgeshire this week between 1am and 5am, which is taking all the results in from across the East. Some of the councils in Cambridgeshire are counting overnight. That is Cambridge City, East Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Then the other three, Huntingdonshire, Fenland and South Cambridgeshire, they’re counting the next day. They start counting at 9am. So we’ll get some of the results in the Breakfast Shows. And we’ll get some of the results around lunchtime or so. But basically, as soon as we’ve got them on Radio Cambridgeshire, we will of course bring them to you. They’ll be on the website as well. And if you just want it all in one chunk ..
ANDY GALL: Please.
STEVE TITMAN: Andy Burrows, Drivetime on Friday.
ANDY GALL: Oh no. It’s not him. I’m covering for him.
STEVE TITMAN: Andy Gall, Drivetime on Friday.
ANDY GALL: Ooh.
STEVE TITMAN: You’re the one. You’re going to be rounding it all up. You’ll have all 6 council elections being rounded up. And we might even have some of the AV results as well. Just to say, Fenland and Huntingdonshire, they’ve also got elections. Fenland, all councillors are being reelected. All council seats are being voted for. Huntingdonshire, a third. Both Tory strongholds. We’re expecting it to stay the same.
ANDY GALL: Our political reporter, Steve Titman, all about it. Thank you very much Steve. So yes, on Friday afternoon, as succinct as you like. I’ll be across that, sitting in for Andy Burrows on the Drivetrime programme