Page last updated at 18:37 GMT, Tuesday, 29 April 2008 19:37 UK

Lib Dem signs for Labour 'friend'

Ballot Box
Five candidates are standing for Purbeck's Lytchett Matravers ward

A Liberal Democrat candidate standing for a Dorset council has broken with tradition by nominating a rival Labour party hopeful.

Alexandra Brenton is one of two Lib Dems standing for election in the Lytchett Matravers ward of Purbeck District council.

She agreed to be one of 10 people who signed nomimation papers for Labour's James Selby Bennett.

However, a Lib Dem spokesman said both candidates are friends.

There are two seats up for grabs in the ward on Thursday.

All candidates standing in the council election must be nominated by 10 people.

Those 10 people, known as subscribers, must sign a form to confirm that they are on the electoral roll for the ward and that they "assent to the candidate being nominated".

Electors can sign as many candidates' lists as there are seats up for election within the ward.

Mike Brooke, agent for ward Lib Dem candidates Ms Brenton and Martyn Colvey, admitted it was a "totally unusual" situation.

"James and Alex are long standing friends and that's why she signed his form," he said.

"We, the local Lib Dems, don't have an issue with it. In rural communities people are friends cross party."

Five candidates

Rival Colin Gibb, who is one of two Conservatives standing in the ward, accepted the situation, said: "It is unusual but one must assume that it must be within the regulations.

"As far as I'm concerned all the candidates are legitimate. It's not possible to second guess what the agenda is."

Candiates standing in the Lytchett Matravers ward election for Purbeck District Council on Thursday, are: Alexandra Brenton (Lib Dem), Martyn Colvey (Lib Dem), David Cross (Conservative), Colin Gibb (Conservative), James Selby Bennett (Labour).


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