Midhurst goes to the polls

The ballot box
The ballot box

A HIGH turnout is predicted at Midhurst today (May 2) in the West Sussex County Council elections where Tory candidate and the sitting councillor John Cherry was forced to resign from his party after making racist remarks.

But in a bizarre twist election law dictates that his name remains on the ballot paper as the Conservative candidate and it is possible he could be elected.

Mr Cherry was nowhere to be seen this morning and he was not expected to do the rounds at polling stations in the ten parishes of the Midhurst division as other candidates were doing.

In 2009 there was a 68 per cent turnout of the 4000 electors in the Midhurst area for the county council elections and many believe after the race row last week it has thrown the election wide open.

There are six candidates including Cllr Cherry who are Bob Green (Lib Dem), Margaret Guest (Ind), Pamela Hayton (UKIP), Gordon McAra (Ind) and Frances Turner (Lab).

While polling was brisk at Midhurst’s Grange Centre polling station where some 500 voters had already been to the polls by midday, it was a different story in Stedham where villagers are represented on Chichester District Council by Cllr Cherry.

Business was slow at lunch time today but one voter said: “I feel desperately sorry for John Cherry. Quite frankly I am sure he is not a racist, but perhaps he should have been cautious about what he was saying.

“He has worked very hard in this are as our district councillor although he has not been county councillor very long, but it seems this may be the finish of his political career.” Polling station remain open until 10pm tonight.

The count takes place in Chichester tomorrow (May 3) and the results are expected to be announced between 2.30pm and 4pm..