TWO vacancies have arisen on Dodington Parish Council following the sad death of Cllr Cliff Phelps (Liberal Democrat) and the resignation of Cllr Keeley Barrett-Waines (Independent).

The resulting by-election is an interesting one.

Three candidates have chosen to stand: Sarah Hurley (Labour), John Malone (Labour) and Jon Shaw (Conservative).

Labour and the Conservatives have approached the election very differently.

Labour are welcoming the opportunity to gauge what support they have in the area, while the Conservatives feel that it is an unnecessary use of public money.

It is good to see the Conservatives’ concern for financial prudence, as public money is indeed a precious resource.

Labour’s commitment to ensuring that election to public office is a public and open affair is also welcome, as this is a key element of democracy.

There are cases for both sides and we look forward to seeing more lively political debate being played out on the council stage.