The elections are still two weeks away but the Labour group is already celebrating a victory in Leyland – after all other parties failed to put forward a candidate in a particular ward.
Only one person – Claire Hamilton – was nominated to stand as a parish councillor in Farington West, meaning she has automatically won the seat, but left the victorious Labour Party shocked.
“I put my name under the Labour banner so residents would know what they’re voting for”Claire Hamilton
Ken Jones, agent for the party in the borough and parish elections, said: “We’re very surprised the Conservatives failed to nominate a candidate.
“We intended to give every elector in the borough the chance to vote Labour, and we’re proud to have done that.
“We are contesting 46 of the 50 seats at borough level; we’ve only put one candidate forward in some wards where two seats are available, where we thought that was appropriate to do.
“But everyone, everywhere in South Ribble has the opportunity to vote Labour.”
Although the eight councillors currently sitting on Farington Parish Council do not affiliate themselves with a political party, three of them are Conservative councillors at South Ribble Council, and a further three have put themselves forward to stand for election at the borough council next month, also for the Conservative party.
Soon to be the parish council’s first Labour councillor, Claire Hamilton, who lives in Farington Gate, Leyland, said: “It was definitely a surprise – I’m a bit baffled by it to be honest.
“I put my name under the Labour banner so residents would know what they’re voting for.
“I think everyone should specify which party they’re affiliated to, especially when most of those who have put just their names down are Conservatives, or standing to be Conservative councillors, at the borough council.”
Until now, Farington Parish Council hasn’t been split up into wards.
However, a review across South Ribble by the Boundary Commission last year – to create better electoral equality across the borough – has resulted in the parish being divided into three wards at parish level.
For the Farington East ward, there are two Labour candidates, and three with no political party affiliated to their names.
In Farington Central, there are three Labour candidates, one Conservative, one Independent, and two who do not specify.
The chairman of the Ribble Valley Conservative Association, which Farington comes under as a parliamentary constituency, said that the Conservatives do not ask people to wear blue when standing at parish level.
Peter Mullineaux explained: “Our stance at Farington Parish Council is that we leave it up to individuals as to what they want to do, if they want to stand as a Conservative or as a resident.
“The parish council is meant to include a cross section of the community.
“We’re more focused on the fight for the borough council and the general election.
“It’s important to know that the Conservatives have put up candidates for all 50 seats at South Ribble for the borough election, and we’re the only party to have done that.”
For the borough elections at South Ribble Council, there are two Labour candidates, two Conservatives, and two Liberal Democrats standing in each of the two Farington wards, East and West.
The four seats across the two wards are currently held by three Conservatives and one Labour councillor.