THE Labour Party has started its official selection process for the “shadow” authority that will prepare the borough for local government reorganisation.
In what one insider dubbed as the “Night of the Long Knives” sitting Labour members of the borough council and the party’s local county councillors competed for a drastically reduced number of seats on the temporary authority during a meeting at the King Centre on Monday evening.
This was only the start of the process to select a total of 18 candidates for the six local wards – three in each – included on the shadow council which will go up for grabs at the elections on May 1.
But it could eventually see some well-known figures leaving the political scene after failing to secure places.
Four of the new, larger wards – generally comprising three of the old borough wards - were dealt with on Monday.
Tony Sherlock, Angela Claydon and Pat Merrick were confirmed as candidates for Grange and Rossmore.
Cherie Hill, Sue Pugh and Paul Donovan were chosen to contest Sutton and Manor.
It is understood Mark Henesy, Brian Jones and Peter Robson were provisionally chosen for Groves and Whitby, although this is subject to confirmation by Labour’s regional executive as there was no woman among the three as stipulated by party rules.
Also subject to a final decision by the executive is Central and Westminster whose final line-up selectors were unable to agree on.
Ledsham and Willaston and Neston and Parkgate will be decided at a later meeting.
The shadow council will run the borough until it joins up with Vale Royal and Chester in the new Cheshire West authority in 2009.
Under local government reorganisation the county council will be scrapped and replaced with all-purpose authorities serving the east and west of Cheshire.