Penny Post’s coverage of the local elections on 4 May 2023

West Berkshire (and many other districts) goes to the polls in the local elections on 4 May 2023. Penny Post has produced a number of articles relevant to this which we hope will be of interest and use in helping you make up your mind who to vote for on the big day. These include the need for voter ID, a list of all the candidates (with some of them answering some questions), a ward-specific questionnaire, the views of the leaders, election radio specials, a chat with the Returning Officer, some background reading and an excursion into a parallel democratic universe.

Photo ID required

All that follows is predicated on the fact that (unless you’ve elected for a postal vote) you’ll need to produce photo ID on 4 May if you want to vote. Regardless of what you think about the need for this, please bear in mind that this is national legislation and that the the presiding staff do not have the power to make any exceptions.

Important information about voting in the 2023 local elections

A look at the election material

We’ve taken a look at the various claims and counter-claims provided in a selection of election material. We’ve pointed out some aspects that need clarification or referencing (and attempted to provide these) and also added some comment.

The Conservative Party

The Liberal Democrat Party

The Green Party

Meet the candidates

We list all the candidates by ward and party and also provide responses from those who replied to our request for the answers to five simple questions (not all did).

Meet the candidates

Seven questions for the leaders or spokesperson

We asked the Leaders of the three parties currently represented on West Berkshire Council – Carolyne Culver (Green Party), Lee Dillon (Liberal Democrats) and Lynne Doherty (Conservative Party) – and Labour Party spokesperson Charles Croal  a few questions and set their answers alongside each other.

Seven election-time questions

Hungerford and Kintbury

This is an area which Penny Post covers particularly closely. It is also a three-member ward in what seems set to be tight election and is also interesting because of the fact that two of the current Conservative councillors have decided not to stand. For all these reasons, we raised twelve questions with these candidates, largely on ward-specific matters.

Twelve questions for the seven candidates in the Hungerford and Kintbury ward

The Hendreds

We also cover the southern part of the Vale of White Horse, which is also holding elections in May. We managed to catch up with Sarah James, the Green Party’s candidate in the Hendreds ward.

Thirteen questions in the Hendreds

Kennet Radio’s Election Specials

Each Friday in April between 4pm and 5pm, Jeremy Sharp of Kennet Radio and Brian Quinn from Penny Post have been to spokespeople from the local parties to discuss particular themes. All are available as listen-agains through Kennet Radio’s Mixcloud page.

7 April 2023: the environment, transport and the countryside

14 April 2023: development, housing and planning

21 April 2023: finance, structure and governance

28 April 2023: health & wellbeing, adult social care, heritage and leisure

Getting (and keeping) the show on the road

It’s not the parties, nor the candidates, nor West Berkshire Council, nor the electors who have the responsibility of getting everything to happen as it should but the Returning Officer. This is normally (and is in this case) the CEO of the council holding the elections: Nigel Lynn in West Berkshire’s case. We caught up with him and found out what this complicated and potentially nerve-wracking role involved in the months building up to polling day.

“Being the Returning Officer at the above election, I do hereby give notice…”

Not this time…

We’ve done several interviews with local political figures over the years, most recently with one district councillor who will not be standing for election in May 2023 after having served the local community in this capacity for a staggering 36 years.

Interview with West Berkshire Councillor Graham Pask

You might also enjoy…

Over the last four years, Penny Post has written about many matters which remain live issues now. Many of these are referred to in some of the above articles. These have often been covered in Penny Post on many other occasions: these are merely links to stand-alone articles rather than to sections of individual news columns.

The dispute over Community Infrastructure Levy charges

Comparing the councils: is it even possible?

The relationship between West Berkshire Council and Readibus

The London Road Industrial Estate and related matters

What can happen when elected members ask questions of their council

The problems with politics at a local level

And finally…

Local elections are intense, combative and febrile. Alternative universes exist in which these are conducted in a different way and with different consequences. Here’s a short story I write about a local election that goes about as badly off course as one can imagine. Whatever happens in any particular ward on 4 May can’t possibly be as much of a disaster as was this: or can it…?

A Rotten Borough






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Covering: Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage, Lambourn, Compton, Swindon & Theale