A battle for political power in York comes to a head tomorrow when the Heworth by-election takes place. The showdown, sparked by the resignation of Labour councillor Paul Blanchard, could shift the balance of influence at the city’s Guildhall.

If the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats win the seat, then Labour will lose the ability to force a tie by aligning with the Greens on tight votes at the Guildhall, in cases when the Conservatives abstain.

Today, candidates from the four mainstream parties explain what they will do if they win the City of York Council seat.

Andrew Whitney, Conservative

“Having lived and worked in Heworth for the last four years, I am able to genuinely represent Heworth locally. “I have been encouraged by the strong support received whilst out and about meeting with many of my neighbours in Heworth, especially while canvassing Bell Farm and Tang Hall this last weekend, and I share the concerns raised, particularly the lack of things for local teenagers to do. “If successful on Thursday, I plan to support police initiatives to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour, to hold the council accountable with our money and drive greater council efficiency, to campaign for the return of bus services in the evenings and weekends to those living around Hempland Lane, and to ensure that Heworth receives its fair share.”

Barbara Boyce, Labour

“The residents of Heworth ward already have an excellent team of Labour councillors in Ruth (Potter) and Tina (Funnell), who work exceptionally hard for the people they represent. “To maintain that level of commitment and to fight for facilities and improvements that people want, I believe that the team should be strengthened by electing another Labour member. “I have previous experience as a councillor and will be effective from day one. As a York person I share many of the experiences and problems of the people I would represent.

“From day one, I will work with Heworth residents to improve services to residents of all ages and aim for a positive future for the whole city.”

Denise Craghill, Green

“Voting Green Party really makes a difference. Our councillors work hard for their constituents and have a wider impact in this closely balanced council way beyond their numbers.

“We stand for: honesty and openness in politics; a ‘Green New Deal’ to create a million new ‘green collar’ jobs; re-regulating and improving bus services; a free and accessible NHS with high-quality services near to where people live; support for local shops, small businesses and local food producers; tackling crime and antisocial behaviour through local community policing; opposition to development in the green belt and overdevelopment in the urban areas; direct funding for affordable housing; support for the future success of Burnholme College; improving road safety around the ward; and city centre sports and leisure facilities following the Barbican debacle – the Greens have proposed a Community Leisure Trust.”

Jen Ayre, Liberal Democrat

“Heworth deserves an active local councillor who will press effectively for improvements in the area.

“That’s why I’m glad my team and I have been able to visit every house twice in the last few months, surveying and talking to residents.

“With the current economic crisis and suspicion of politicians nationally after the expenses scandal, I have been pleased to run a positive campaign focusing on issues and actions. “I have campaigned to keep Burnholme College open and to preserve the green belt. Residents have also responded well to Liberal Democrat investment in road and footpath repairs. I have taken up more than 1,000 issues on behalf of Heworth residents, and this is the commitment to action I will bring if elected.”

* Other candidates at the by-election are Jeff Kelly, for the BNP, and Elvis impersonator Eddie Vee, for the Monster Raving Loony Party.