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ELECTION: Anti-sleaze ex-MP Martin Bell backs independent Kate Hammond on May 6

Tuesday 13th April 2021

THE independent candidate taking on the Liberal Democrat leader of Maidstone Borough Council at the election on May 6 has won the backing of the most famous indie of them all – the white-suited, former BBC war correspondent, Martin Bell.
Mr Bell, who overturned Tory Neil Hamilton’s 22,000 majority in Tatton on an anti-sleaze ticket in 1997, said this is a “good time” for candidates to offer an alternative to party politics at the local elections on May 6.
Now he has given his support to Kate Hammond, a community campaigner and outspoken critic of MBC's housing policy, who will stand in MBC Lib Dem leader Martin Cox in his East ward.
Mr Bell, a UNICEF ambassador, said: “It’s a very good time to do it. I understand the need for the party system nationally, but not at borough council level. There are more possibilities locally and this is going to be a campaign like no other, because of COVID-19. So I am happy to back Kate Hammond."
But Cllr Cox sits on a comfortable 24% majority.


Liberal Democrat spokesman Ian Chittenden said: "One issue candidiates don't tend to be favoured when they move out of their area. I am not criticising Kate for doing it and I understand her reasons.
"Even when these independents do get elected they don't last very long and can be gone inside six months or a year. Martin has been tied up more with his leadership duties in the last couple of years but we have been supporting him in that situation.
"I would say that Kate has only a very low level chance of beating Martin."
Mrs Hammond said: “I might not win but I’m going to give it a good go. I have never belonged to a political party and I have nothing against Martin personally - but he's the guy in charge and he has to be accountable."

The other candidiates are Harprit Singh Dogra (Con), Marlyn Randall (Lab) and James Shalice (Green).