It has been asked why I am not standing at the local elections in May 2015.  Colchester Labour Party and I have issued this statement which I will be pointing to when people ask.

10th April 2015

Ben Howard has decided to stand down as the Labour Candidate for Castle ward at the  forthcoming Colchester Borough Council elections due to personal circumstances. Ben stood in Castle ward last year and achieved an impressive result gaining Labour’s best result in the ward for several years. In a tight 5 way contest Ben came a creditable third and was looking to build on that result in 2015. He will be replaced by teacher, Andrew Murphy, who lives in Cavalry Road. Ben has made it clear that he is supporting Andrew and Jordan Newell at the forthcoming Local and General Elections and will be working behind the scenes to support the Labour Party’s candidates.

Ben issued the following statement:

“Last week I sadly lost my sister to cancer less than 3 months after my father died, also due to cancer. I am very sorry that I am no longer able to stand and build upon the support I gained at last year’s elections but my time right now needs to be spent supporting my family during this difficult time for us. I will return to stand again one day as I believe I have something positive to offer the town but now is not the right time. I would like to thank the party for their support and Andrew Murphy for offering to step in to represent Labour Party in Castle Ward.”

Cllr Tim Young, Leader of the Labour Group on Colchester Borough Council, said, “I am really grateful to Ben for being so open and honest with us and, given the recent traumatic events within his family, I absolutely understand why he feels that he wouldn’t be able to give the time and commitment to the local election campaign that he would want to. He has been a great support to the Labour Party and me personally over the last couple of years and he will remain a great asset for us in the future. He has assured me that he would want to stand for the council again and I will give him every encouragement. The thoughts of myself and Labour colleagues are with Ben and his family at this difficult time for them.”