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Thursday, April 30, 1998 Published at 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK




The East Midlands - Mark D'Arcy

Mark D'Arcy reports on a what promises to be a thin year in the East Midlands.

Derby

Derby, the biggest local authority in the region holding elections this year, was once an ultra-marginal council held by the Conservatives on the mayor's casting vote. Those days are now long gone, and the Conservatives are now seeking to recover from devastating local defeat.

Such is Labour's dominance that even if it lost all 14 seats up for grabs this year it would still retain control with a comfortable majority.

Short of a catastrophic collapse in its bedrock inner city seats, Labour is certain to remain in control in Derby into the next century.

Amber Valley

Within recent memory the Conservatives were in power here (with the help of independents) but they are now reduced to a rump.

In 1997, Labour took the marginal parliamentary seat too. The Tories are also defending two of their four seats - one in the leafy Derby suburb of Duffield, and one in Riddings.

The Liberal Democrats have no real track record here - any success would mark an important breakthrough for them.

Lincoln

All 33 seats on Lincoln City Council are held by Labour. But seven of their councillors have broken away to sit as "independent Labour".

Three of them are up for re-election, but at the time of writing it is not clear how many will actually stand.

A key contest could be Birchwood Ward, the Conservatives' last stronghold in Lincoln, until it fell in 1996. Labour has a healthy majority, but the seat up for election this time is held by an independent labour councillor - so a split vote is possible.

West Lindsay

Liberal Democrat-led West Lindsay is not normally a highly charged political authority.

The Liberal Democrats have a one-seat majority over the combined total of independent, Conservative, "Free Alliance" and Labour councillors. And they have made the running here in recent years.

Watch Gainsborough, where two wards went from Labour to Lib Dem two years ago.






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