SEVENTY candidates are vying for votes at Swindon's council election.

Voters are guaranteed at least 10 new councillors after the Swindon Council poll on May 4.

Nineteen of the town's 59 seats go to a vote next month, with 10 sitting councillors not contest-ing their seats.

The official list of candidates has been released showing a field of new faces contesting Central, Dorcan, Eastcott, Freshbrook and Grange Park, Highworth, Old Town and Lawn, Shaw and Nine Elms, St Margaret, St Philip, and Wroughton and Chiseldon.

The Conservatives, the ruling party, and opposition Labour have candidates in all 19 of the seats up for grabs.

The Liberal Democrats have candidates in 15 wards and the Greens 11.

Three independents are standing in Central, Gorse Hill and Pinehurst, and Wroughton and Chiseldon while Socialist Unity has two candidates.

The biggest field is in Gorse Hill and Pinehurst where six the sitting Labour councilor and Conservative, independent, Social Unity, Lib-Dem and Swindon's first BNP candidates have joined the scrap.

The Conservatives hold 27 seats that are not up for election in May.

They need to win or keep three seats at the election to hold on to power.

Conservative group leader-designate Roderick Bluh said that the Tories had turned the council around.

"Since taking control of the council in June 2004, we are proud to have delivered an incredible transformation in performance, moving from one of the worst-performing councils in the country to a rapidly improving two-star council," said Coun Bluh.

"We have set out a clear ambitious agenda of targets to build a better Swindon.

"The new central library will open in 2008 after 35 years of inaction and broken promises.

"In the last two years we have delivered the two lowest tax increases in the last 10 years."

Labour group leader Coun Kevin Small said that he was proud of what his party had done along with its Government colleagues.

"As the main opposition to the Tory administration, we have made it our job to hold the Tories to account and to challenge the true blue direction they want to take Swindon," Coun Small said.

"We have opposed the Tories' continued attack on local services.

"While Labour gives free bus passes to OAPs, the Tories take away child half-fares and cut local bus services.

"The Tories have made great play about Labour's council tax increases but have they ever offered to give the money back?

"This year, they have raised council tax by nearly double the rate of inflation."

Liberal Democrats group deputy leader Stan Pajak said: "The public has realised that both Labour and the Con-servatives have failed to deliver in Swindon.

"That's why there is such goodwill for the Liberal Democrats.

"In these elections, we will concentrate on three key issues the threat to our environment, the need to scrap the council tax and the menace of crime."