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Riverside by-election puts Potters Fields meeting on hold

Southwark Council has announced that a by-election will be held in Riverside ward on Thursday 13 December to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Paul Baichoo.

Riverside ward Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Baichoo's resignation was received by Southwark chief executive Annie Shepperd on Friday.

A notice of election has been issued for a poll to take place in Riverside ward on Thursday 13 December. Candidates have until 12 noon on Friday 16 November to submit their nomination papers.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is Friday 28 November.

Southwark's Labour leader Cllr Peter John has already disclosed on his blog that his party's candidate is likely to be local activist and Shad Thames resident Cormac Hollingsworth who fought the seat in the 2006 local elections. Labour is hoping to overturn the Lib Dems' 330-vote majority in Riverside ward.

Local Conservatives – despite their joint administration with the Lib Dems at the Town Hall – are promising that the by-election will be a full three-way fight.

The Green Party – which achieved a strong result in Riverside in 2006 – will also be contesting the by-election.

All parties will select their candidates during the next week or so.

Election scuppers "politically sensitive" Potters Fields meeting

Southwark's ruling Liberal Democrat/Conservative executive had been due to hold a special meeting on Monday lunchtime to consider bids received for the council's land at Potters Fields – currently the subject of a high-profile spat with Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.

Rules on decision-making on sensitive issues during an election campaign mean that the meeting has been put on hold.

A council spokesperson said: "The special meeting of Southwark Council's executive scheduled for 5 November 2007 has been cancelled.

"The council has received the resignation of Riverside ward Councillor Paul Baichoo and a by-election will now be held on Thursday 13 December. The council has today published notice of a by-election which triggers the 'purdah' period.

"The council's monitoring officer, the director of legal and democratic services, has determined that the issue which the special executive was due to consider on Monday 5 November is politically sensitive and as such should not be considered unless there is an overriding need to do so."

Purdah is the period prior to elections when there are limits on council activity limiting proactive publicity of candidates and other politicians directly involved in the election.

• See our Riverside Ward By-Election guide

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