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Lib Dems in fight for future; ST HELENS.

LABOUR already holds a commanding position on St Helens council - and that is likely to increase even more after Thursday's vote.

Since regaining overall control of the hung council in 2010, the Labour group - led by Cllr Marie Rimmer - has gone from strength to strength.

The current make-up of the council is Labour 35, the Lib Dems nine and the Tories four.

If the ruling group is successful in its target of winning up to six more seats, it would leave the other parties no more than a tiny rump in a council chamber dominated by the red rose group.

In a further indication of the plight of the Liberal Democrats, the party is fielding candidates in only nine of the 16 wards.

That makes them the only major party not to be standing in all seats being contested - even the Greens have put forward a candidate in every ward.

CONFIDENT: Labour group deputy leader Barrie Grunewald Activists say that national issues are dominating the agenda and that the Labour group is likely to be the main beneficiary of disaffection FIGHT: Lib Dem group leader Brian Spencer with the coalition government.

The Labour group's deputy leader, Cllr Barrie Grunewald, said national issues - such as public service cuts - were top of the agenda on the doorstep.

He added: "In previous years, the Liberal Democrats have had up to 70% of the vote in St Helens. What people are telling us now is that they feel betrayed and will never vote for them again."

The Lib Dem group leader Cllr Brian Spencer - whose own seat on the council is in jeopardy in the face of a concerted Labour campaign - said his party was concentrating its efforts on those areas where it was most likely to win.

The leader of the council's small Conservative group, Cllr Wally Ashcroft, is among a number of veteran councillors who are stepping down from the authority this year.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 30, 2012
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