Cyril Bennis, the
former Liberal Democratic Mayor of Stratford-upon-Avon, has switched horses to stand in
the local elections as an Independent.
His twelve months term of office, which ceased in May 1998, was often
controversial with parish council meetings being suspended.
Eventually the District Auditor issued a report in which he detailed several concerns
regarding the conduct of the council.
Councillor Bennis, a street entertainer, fulfilled his term of office as mayor but
decided to leave the Liberal Democrat Party to serve as an Independent.
Tomorrow is the first occasion on which he is asking the electorate to vote for him in
his new role.
He is fighting the District Council ward of Newtown and the Welcombe ward on the Parish
Council and sources say he has a good chance of winning seats on both.
One insider said:
"It was a huge issue in political circles when he was mayor, but Mr Bennis is a
popular figure with the public around Stratford through his busking activities.
"There are two seats in the Welcombe ward and only three candidates and he has a
very good chance of being elected."
There are sixteen seats on Stratford Town Council and councillors are elected for four
years. All sixteen seats are up for election.
The much larger District Council which is headed by a chairman, has fifty-five seats,
nineteen of which are involved in the election.
Stratford District Council was a Conservative stronghold until 1992 but since then no
party has had overall control.
The Liberal Democrats have the largest representation with 23 councillors to the Tories
eighteen. But the balance of power could shift tomorrow. Eight Lib-Dem seats and three
Tory seats are up for election.
If the Tories hold their own seats and win three from the Lib Dems they would be the
majority party once more.