A DESELECTED Labour councillor has urged Billinge and Seneley Green’s community to get behind the new candidate to help fend off the Green Party.

Cllr Dennis McDonnell lost a tight contest to Stuart Barton at the Billinge and Seneley Green Labour selection meeting for the 2020 local elections.

The two candidates initially secured an equal number of votes before one of Cllr McDonnell’s supporters switched sides.

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Cllr McDonnell said: “At a meeting of the Labour Party Billinge and Seneley Green branch, the first vote taken to select a candidate for the May 2020 elections was a draw with 12 votes for and 12 against.

“In my 33 years as a branch member I have never known such a result at a selection meeting.

“The deadlock was broken when one of my supporters broke rank, changing their vote to the other candidate.”

Cllr McDonnell was first elected in a by-election in 2014 before being re-elected for a four-year term in 2016.

After seeing Labour’s share of the vote shrink in recent years, Cllr McDonnell urged residents to get behind Mr Stuart, who he called a “good man”.

“I am concerned with the decline of the Labour vote in the Billinge and Seneley Green ward,” Cllr McDonnell said.

“In the 2016 elections my share of the vote cast was 56 per cent – more than all the opposition parties added together.

“In 2018 the vote fell to 49 per cent and in May of this year dropped to just 37 per cent.

St Helens Star: St Helens Town HallSt Helens Town Hall

“The Billinge and Seneley Green candidate for the May elections is Stuart Barton, a good man, a staunch Trade Unionist and official of Holy Trinity Church.

“Branch members and residents are urged to support him if they wish to stop the Green Party taking control of the ward.”

The 70-year-old currently sits on Billinge Chapel End Parish Council and said he will continue working in the community until the 2023 parish council elections.

Cllr McDonnell said: “I have worked for 15 years for my community (voluntary unpaid) as a Billinge Labour parish councillor and shall continue to do so until the 2023 elections.

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“I am currently opposing the removal of Barrows Farm from the green belt and have registered to speak at the hearing of the government’s planning inspector.

“I will speak as a parish councillor if my term of office as ward councillor runs out before the hearing.

“Thanks to members and residents who have supported me over the last six years.”