Plethora of candidates for council elections

[The Luton Reporter: Tuesday, August 26th, 1919]

Even if the November elections produce no more than the half dozen vacancies that result automatically, there is assured a plethora of candidates unique in the municipal history of Luton.

The retiring councillors are Messrs S. Green and J. Unwin (Unionist) in the North Ward; Messrs A. B. Attwood (Unionist) and W. A. Rainbow (Liberal) in the East; and Messrs G. W. Gilder and George Warren (Liberal) in the West. Mr George Gilder has, of course, long since ceased to take any active part in Council work, and it may he will not be alone in passing into retirement, but so far no definite announcement has been made by any of the retiring members as to their intentions

We have not been able to learn that either the Liberal or Unionist parties have yet met to consider the situation, and it is therefore purely speculative as to whether they will combine on Coalition lines or revert to pre-war opposition.

In any case, arrangements have now been practically concluded for the appearance in the field of a full complement of Labour and Co-operative candidates. There are to be five nominees of the local Labour Party and one from the Co-operative Society, but as two of the Labour choices were also nominations put forward by the Co-operative Society, the Co-operatives will actually have three candidates, and it is thought this arrangement will ensure a joint campaign by the two bodies.

At a special meeting of the local Labour Party on Thursday night [August 21st] to decide upon the choice of candidates 27 nominations were read, and there were nine withdrawals, leaving 18 names to go to the vote. We are told there were something like 70 or 80 voting delegates present, and the ballot resulted in the selection of Mr T. H. Knight, Dr Birch, Messrs W. J. Mair, W. J. Mabley and Will Twort. Of these, Dr Birch and Mr Mair will be joint Labour and Co-operative candidates, and it is understood the remaining Co-operative candidate will in all probability be Mr Phil Neil.

There has been no allocation of candidates to wards, but it likely the arrangement may be Messrs Knight and Mabley for the North, Dr Birch and Mr Twort for the East, and Messrs Mair and Neil for the West.

An unexpected new force entering the field consists of the discharged and demobilised sailors and soldiers. We learn that a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Luton DS&S Association on Thursday night [August 21] unanimously pronounced in favour of running candidates for the Town Council, and it was decided to invite Messrs W. G. Aylott, S. J. Allason, C. Barber (solicitor to the Association) and H. C. Cooper (Secretary) to accept nomination.

This decision, it is understood, is subject to confirmation by a general meeting of the Association, but from all one can gather the executive were interpreting the feelings of their members in deciding to contest the election. All the candidates suggested have seen overseas service during the war.

Some months back the Tradesmen's Association decided to run candidates, and Messrs J. H. Webb (ex-President), H. Inwood (Vice President and Hon Secretary), Percy Blundell and W. E. Sanders were suggested, but we hear nothing further has been done in the matter.

Representation on the Town Council was also strongly advocated in the Friendly Societies' Council during the war, but whether it will be attempted in the face of so many other candidates may be regarded as a moot point.