Labour - Maggie Kelly
Conservative - Val Jarvis
Liberal Democrat - Gavin Spencer
Green - Paul Hill
UKIP - Edward McNally
Independent - Anne Chalk
The election date has been set for Thursday, May 25th - just two weeks before the General Election. I am not sure whether this will boost turnout, depress it, or have no impact at all.
This by-election follows the untimely death of Independent Group candidate Mike Assenheim. Considering their well-known antipathy, it does strike me as odd that Anne Chalk is seeking to be his replacement. However, I have no idea whether, if successful, she will join the Southend Independence Alliance in the chamber.
I think the Tories are favourites here. However, Labour has an excellent candidate and expects to do very well. Based on their performance in the polls, and the recent defections, one would imagine UKIP will bomb - let's hope so anyway.