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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Who will take control in Bristol?
Bristol City Council offices
Labour have 31 seats, the Lib Dems 27 and the Tories, 11 in Bristol
The council elections in Bristol on 5 May could mean the end to the city being run as a minority administration.

Currently, no one group has a controlling majority of the authority, which is run by Labour with 31 councillors.

The Lib Dems have 27, the Conservatives 11 and there is one independent.

Of the 70 seats on the authority, 23 are up for grabs.

Barbara Janke, head of the Lib Dem group, told BBC News her party was pushing hard to form the next administration - with her as its leader.

"We are optimistic we will be the largest group and gain six seats on top of the six we are defending.

It is high time Bristol had a green councillor
Geoff Collard

"This is partly a national thing: there is a very strong movement from Labour to us, and there is very little Conservative presence in the city," she said.

Peter Hammond, leader of the council and the Labour group, said: "Our strategy is based on being clear and realistic. We are looking to maintain our hold [on contested seats], and add two or three more."

The Tories are looking to add three new councillors to their team.

Ms Janke said education was the Lib Dem's "number one" priority.

"The real key is improving confidence and tackling the basics like attendance, literacy and the 14 to 19 age group curriculum."

Community safety

Conservative councillor for Westbury-on-Trym, Geoff Gollop agreed: "Education is a priority: we want to provide an acceptable level of secondary education for everyone.

"There are no simple solutions but we need to engage with parents: their confidence is crucial."

He also highlighted improvements to transport and the council's financial management as key issues.

Labour also stresses education as a priority, drawing attention to its schools rebuilding programme, and the overall level of investment coming into the city.

Mr Hammond added: "In addition to improving education, we are looking at the overall regeneration of Bristol. We are committed to pursuing the Arena, refurbishing the Colston Hall and Broadmead.

"We will also continue to use asbos and deal with problems of community safety in the community."

Although there are currently no Green councillors in the city, the party is contesting 19 of the 23 seats.


Geoff Collard, standing in Cotham, said: "It is high time Bristol had a green councillor. Winning a seat is on the cards sometime soon.

"If elected, we would pressure the other parties to take more notice of the environment... and tackle education, which is abysmal."

As the smallest party in the council, the Conservatives say they are looking to act in Bristol's best interests.

Mr Gollop added: "We have tried to adopt a policy of working for the collective good of the electorate.

"There is a danger of too much party politics where the majority of councillors actually hold similar views."

This view was backed up by the only independent in Bristol, Roy Tallis, an ex-Lib Dem councillor seeking re-election in Cabot.

"I want to listen closely to people who vote for us, rather than the parties who tell us what to do.

"It is essential that we see more independents in the council."



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