How local are our local candidates in the city council elections?

There are 54 seats up for grabs in 21 wards
There are 54 seats up for grabs in 21 wards

What we know about the 236 local candidates in the Brighton and Hove City Council elections.

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 08.19.36They are the local candidates in the local elections. A total of 236 local men and women - slightly more men than women, as it happens - who seek to represent the local community in the Brighton and Hove City Council elections.

That's 236 candidates in 21 wards: each of the Conservative Party, the Green Party, and the Labour and Co-operative Party has a full slate of candidates - all fighting for all 54 seats up for grabs. Some wards have three councillors; some have two.

Other parties have fewer candidates: Liberal Democrats have 29 candidates, in 19 wards (many more men than women, as it happens); UKIP has 25 candidates, in 13 wards (likewise).

The others include 20 candidates, in 17 wards: Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has 13; Left Unity has 2. There are four independent candidates. And one is a Monster Raving Loony.

But what do we really know about these local candidates who wish to give us a democratic voice - not just now, but for the next four years?

A unique analysis by Brighton and Hove Independent reveals that three in five (60%) do not live in the ward they seek to represent. That's 141 out of 236.

These 141 include: 35 (65%) of Green candidates; 36 (63%) of Conservative candidates; 33 (61%) of Labour candidates; 12 (41%) of Liberal Democrat candidates; and 15 (60%) of UKIP candidates.

Nor do they live in the sort of homes of the citizens they seek to govern.

Nearly three in 10 (28%) live in homes in one of the top four council tax bands (Bands E to H) - compared with about one in seven (14%) of the general population.

Only two of the candidates live in a Band H home: Geoffrey and Carol Theobald; only 8% (18 candidates) live in a Band A home, compared with 21% (26,667 households) of the general population.

For full details about the candidates, the parties, and the wards, visit our Elections 2015 pages.

So, if they don't live in the wards they seek to represent and if they don't live in the sort of homes of citizens to whom they seek to give a voice, where do they live?

Well, first of all, let's deal with the three candidates who do not even have an address in the city: Ivan Bonsell, of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, lives in Lewes, but is standing in Hove Park; Heather Newberry-Martin, of the Conservative Party, is standing in St Peter's and North Laine, but lives in Worthing.

And then there's Martin Perry, the director of Brighton and Hove Albion parachuted by Labour into Hangleton and Knoll.

Mr Perry lives in part of the mansion where Oliver Reed, the famous/infamous film star lived: Broome Hall, near Dorking, Surrey - more than 34 miles from the American Express Community Stadium.

And about the same distance from the citizens whose votes he wants to borrow.

Other Labour candidates so keen to serve that they are standing in wards where they do not live, include Adrian Morris (who lives in St Peter’s and North Laine, but is standing in Queen’s Park), Caroline Penn (who lives in Central Hove, but is willing to travel out to Hollingdean and Stanmer), and Dan Yates, (ensconced in Saltdean, but out on the doorstep canvassing in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean).

Equally significant, perhaps, is the fact that one in four (25%) candidates live in just three of the city's 21 wards.

Withdean, for example, offers 24 candidates to wards in many far-flung parts of the city: Rottingdean Coastal; East Brighton; South Portslade; Hove Park; Goldsmid; St Peter’s and North Laine; Preston Park; Hollingdean and Stanmer; and Patcham.

The other wards with residents volunteering for public service are Preston Park (18 candidates live there), and St Peter's and North Laine (16).

Numbers for the other wards whose residents are candidates in the city are: Patcham, 12 candidates; Rottingdean Coastal, 12; Hangleton and Knoll, 11; Hanover and Elm Grove, 11; Queen's Park, 11; Woodingdean, 11; Central Hove, 10; East Brighton, 10; South Portslade, 10; Westbourne, 10; Brunswick and Adelaide, 9; Goldsmid, 9; Hollingdean and Stanmer, 9; Hove Park, 9; Regency, 9; North Portslade, 8; Wish, 8; and Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, 6.

We indicated earlier the gender balance is roughly representative overall. For the record, the figures are: Conservative: 28 women (52%), 26 men; 54 Green: 23 women (43%), 31 men; Labour: 24 women (44%), 30 men; UKIP: six women (24%), 19 men; and Liberal Democrats, five women (17%), 24 men.

And if you are wondering about ethnic diversity among candidates, don't hold your breath. The people you see on the new council are likely to be as white as those on the council whose time is up.

On the face of it, fewer than 10 of the 236 candidates are from black and ethnic minorities.