PORTSOKEN goes to the polls this week, with four candidates vying to claim a seat among the City’s 25 Aldermen.
On 14 December David Barker, William Campbell-Taylor, Prem Goyal and Anthony Samuels will contest the seat vacated by Sir Michael Bear.
Each has hit the campaign trail hard in recent weeks, and as City Matters was being delivered on Wednesday the quartet were readying themselves for a final chance to coin favour at a wardmote at Artizan Street Library.
Here is a reminder of what each candidate deems a priority ahead of the vote, and why they feel they are the best man for the job:
Mr Barker is relatively new to the world of politics but is on the ballot for a third time inside 18 months having stood in the General Election and during the City-wide Common Councillor vote in March.
He says the needs of residents should be given greater consideration by the local authority, and has promised to be a champion of social mobility.
“Constituents feel left behind and forgotten as the City has progressed and got richer… they are tired of nothing changing or everything taking too long.
“I feel I have earned the respect of Portsoken residents since March by not disappearing after I didn’t get elected – which is what normally happens.”
Labour has somewhat upset the Corporation applecart in recent times – increasing its voice five-fold on the Common Council in March – but the latest man attempting to break rank from the traditionally independent authority says that political alignment does not hamper the ability to do the job.
Mr Campbell-Taylor instead wants voters to focus on his campaign pledges, which centre on transparency and the provision of new homes in the City.
“Many residents are pleased to have the opportunity to support a Labour candidate for Alderman, though it’s also true that party politics isn’t the only consideration when choosing who to vote for,” he said when quizzed on whether his party’s red rosette carried an undesirable stigma in these parts.
“Residents and small businesses want to know that you are on their side, that you will fight their corner.”
Mr Goyal’s campaign has not been without incident, but he says he has drawn a line under an incident that saw him forced to apologise for the misuse of public funds.
A prominent figure in the community where he has lived and worked for 18 years, the self-made businessman has made a point of pressing the flesh in the build up to 14 December, and is counting on his engaging approach and status as a Common Councillor for Bishopsgate to see him home.
Like Mr Barker, social mobility tops his agenda should he be successful.
“I have made the positive case for Portsoken and have not been involved in any negative campaigning.
“My efforts are, and will always continue to be, focused on the ward of Portsoken and the issues that really matter to residents and businesses here.”
Due to an international trip, Mr Samuels was sadly unable to respond to any of City Matters’ questions ahead of this week’s vote.
Despite formally submitting his nomination as an Independent, Mr Samuels is listed as the vice-chairman of Surrey County Council, an authority currently run by the Conservatives.
He is the representative for Walton South & Oatlands, and lives beyond the City’s borders in Oxshott.