POLITICAL Parties are striving might and main to prise St Albans District Council from the grasp of the Liberal Democrats in elections on May 3.

Should the Tories, Labour or even the Greens seize three of the 11 Lib Dem seats up for grabs, the cabinet, which has governed the district for three years, would be replaced probably by a coalition.

After last year's poll the Lib Dems had an overall majority of four seats but the Conservatives won nearly 3,000 more votes and the party will be hoping to translate its popularity into gains this time.

The most vulnerable Lib Dem looks like cabinet member Chris Oxley, representing Wheathampstead where a tied poll last year was decided by drawing pencils.

The ruling party is also defending slim majorities in Harpenden East, Verulam and Marshalswick South.

Six councillors have declined to stand again, including two-time Labour Mayor Malcolm MacMillan, and former Tory cabinet member Chris Whiteside, who has moved to Cumbria.

Harpenden West will elect two councillors this year, as Julian Daly is hoping for re-election while ill health has forced his Tory colleague to stand down early.

One of the two Lib Dem candidates there is Albert Moses, a Sri Lankan actor living in the town whose film credits includes the James Bond titles Octopussy and The Spy Who Loved Me.

Green hopes to contest every ward were frustrated when the party's would-be London Colney candidate was disqualified as he was incorrectly nominated.

If the Lib Dems made a net loss of two seats, they would rely on Mayor Alison Steer's casting vote to cling to power without an overall majority.

For a full list of all the candidates standing in this year's election, buy the St Albans Observer on Thursday.