A NEW political party is fielding candidates in Basildon in this year’s local elections.

The Democrats and Veterans party was only founded at the start of this year and, set up by veterans, aims to make decisions more about the people the councillors are serving rather than party politics.

It has stated that it will target voters in Essex, in particular to gain seats on Essex County Council.

John Rees-Evans, previously a UKIP leadership candidate, was announced as the first party leader in February.

Steve Harvey will be standing in the Pitsea North West Ward and John Eacersall in Pitsea South East Ward.

Branch chairman Christopher Boosey, who is standing in West Thurrock and South Stifford, said: “We are a new party and we are offering something completely different.

“We think we will do OK.

“The party first and foremost is a democratic party that is seeking to change the current system.

“We will be pushing for more local engagement, rather than being a representative that you only see once in four years when they knock on your door to ask for support.”

Borough council elections are also taking place in Billericay East Ward, Billericay West Ward, Burstead Ward, Crouch Ward, Fryerns Ward, Laindon Park Ward, Langdon Hills Ward, Lee Chapel North Ward, Nethermayne Ward, Pitsea North West Ward, Pitsea South East Ward, Wickford Castledon Ward, Wickford North Ward and Wickford Park Ward.

Basildon mayor David Harrison, of Wickford Independents, is up for re-election in Wickford Park Ward.

This year’s elections will not take place in the St Martins or Vange wards.

The seat of current de facto leader of the council, Labour councillor Gavin Callaghan, is not up for election this year, but will be next year.

The last local election in 2016 saw the Conservatives take 19 seats, with Ukip bagging 16 and Labour 10.

Ukip took an extra three seats, with the Lib Dems, Greens and Labour each losing one seat.

Last year, Labour, Ukip and independent councillors joined forces to overthrow the Tory administration, changing the council structure from cabinet to committee.

Polling day for the Basildon Council election is Thursday, May 3, between the hours of 7am and 10pm.

Residents should have received their polling cards in the post, giving details of the ward you live in and your local polling station.

It is not essential that you take your polling card with you to vote, although it can speed the process up.

There is only one person to be elected in each ward, except for Pitsea South East where they are two.

Applications to vote by proxy at this election must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Basildon Borough Council, Electoral Services, The Basildon Centre, St Martin’s Square, Basildon, Essex, SS14 1DL by 5pm on April 25.

You need to register to vote before April 17.