Jun 23 2011 By Ian Proctor
TWO former Conservative colleagues - Marilyn Ashton and Tory-turned-independent Eric Silver - are to face off in the July 28 Stanmore Park by-election.
Ex-Mayor of Harrow Eric Silver, who represented Headstone North ward for the Conservatives until he was ousted at the May 2010 elections, announced this morning he is standing against Conservative nominee Marilyn Ashton, who stood down as a councillor for Stanmore Park at the same elections.
Others to appear on the ballot paper will be Sylvia Warshaw for the Liberal Democrats and Niraj Dattani for Labour.
Pharmacist Mr Silver, of Grantham Close, Edgware, said: "If elected, I would speak up for the people of Stanmore Park without the constraints of the political whips instructing me how to think and vote and I would be free to judge the local issues free of the party dogma and entirely on the merits of the arguments being put forward.
"So it is my intention to contest the forthcoming by-election in Stanmore Park ward as an independent to give the voters an alternative to candidates, who in the past have at times ridden rough shod over the views of the local population and have taken their election to the council as a god given right."
Mrs Ashton, of Tanglewood Close, Stanmore, who is in her 50s, said: "Obviously I respect anybody who wants to put themselves forward for public office but I am somebody who really understands the issues in Stanmore Park because I represented it before and I actually live in the borough of Harrow whereas Eric actually lives in Barnet.
"The platform I'm standing on is: there are mistakes being made in the marketing of Amner Lodge and Lidl's car park by the Labour administration, and I'm very concerned to protect Stanmore against the ravages of one inappropriate planning application after another."
Liberal Democrat candidate Mrs Warshaw, 78, of London Road, Stanmore, is a semi-retired director of a timber and furnishing manufacturer, while Labour nominee Mr Dattani, lives in Portland Crescent, Stanmore.
Next month's by-election was sparked by the resignation of Conservative councillor Mark Versallion after he obtained a seat on his local Central Bedfordshire Council in the May 2011 elections and was appointed that authority's children's services portfolio holder.