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Cockell confirms candidacy

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Kensington and Chelsea RBC leader Sir Merrick Cockell has confirmed his intention to stand against Leicestershire CC leader David Parsons in the race to become the next chairman of the Local Government Association.

But in contrast to Cllr Parsons high-profile campaign launch, which saw him announce his candidacy on the BBC Politics Show, Cllr Cockell (Con) announced his campaign with a short and simple email to all Conservative group leaders.

A short list of pledges included a promise to “dominate the media with Conservative voices speaking for local government” and to “shake up the LGA and Conservative group… bring[ing] transparency and democracy to both”.

Cllr Cockell promised to “build on these themes over the next weeks”.

“We need change now. With the team you elect, I will deliver it,” it concluded.

A further difference between the two campaigns was highlighted by the nature of their endorsements. While Cllr Parsons’ campaign was quick to publish an open letter from 20 senior conservative councillors backing his bid, Cllr Cockell received a tribute via Twitter from his council chief executive Derek Myers.

“Election for LGA Chair. I don’t have a vote but Sir Merrick Cockell is straight, decent, principled and devoted to LG [local government].I know; he’s my boss,” the tweet read.

UPDATE, 09:50 - Cllr Cockell has written a piece for the ConservativeHome blog elaborating on his campaign themes.

Full list of campaign themes

· Get on the front foot, building on the popular support of May 5th.

· Show local Conservatives making the right choices for the country and local government.

· Dominate the media with Conservative voices speaking for local government.

· Be more confident and assertive.

· Give the LGA a strong and united voice under Conservative leadership.

· Shake up the LGA and Conservative Group. Bring transparency and democracy to both.

· Make the LGA an accountable membership body, akin to a trade association.

· Be demanding of Government.

· Be demanding of local government.

· Strengthen good relations with all parts of our Government.

· Restore the LGA to its proper place in government.

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