This week Sutton councillors for the next four years will be chosen on Thursday's local elections. The Sutton Guardian brings you an overview of the main parties seeking your vote, and the smaller parties hoping to make a difference this time around.

Liberal Democrats - won 43 seats in 2010 (now has 41 councillors after one defection and one councillor having whip removed) - 48 per cent of the vote

Sutton Guardian: Ruth Dombey

Sutton Council leader Ruth Dombey

The Liberal Democrats have had control of Sutton Council since 1990 and polled almost half the vote at the last elections in 2010.

They are still the favourites to hold control of the council this year but they will see stiffer competition in wards all over the borough.

Council leader Councillor Ruth Dombey said the key points for her party are the continued fight to protect services at St Helier hospital, cutting unemployment, which she says is already low and will be driven down further by the planned life science cluster due to be built over the coming years, a plan to invest £19m into building affordable and social housing, and school building.

She added: "We're the only party working across all the borough. We've got councillors in all wards except one.

"I can't predict what will happen in the election because there are a lot of different parties, some we've never heard of, with candidates standing and this will have an effect.

"I do think it will be between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives again.

"What I will say is that it is really important that people come out and vote. Wards can be won and lost on just a handful of votes so we want people to come out and vote no matter who they vote for."

Conservatives - total seats won in 2010 - 11 (38 per cent of vote)

Sutton Guardian: Councillor Graham Whitham

Councillor Graham Whitham

Sutton Council was run by a Conservative majority until 1986 but since then the Tories have been unable to regain control.

At the last council election they won 11 seats but are hopeful they can make gains on the Liberal Democrats next week.

Councillor Graham Whitham said they have a list of ten points they are campaigning on, these include protecting services at St Helier, school building, bringing Tramlink to the borough through increased cooperation with London Mayor Boris Johnson, improving standards in care homes and cracking down on crime and anti-social behaviour - and area in which Coun Whitham said the council has become "complacent".

He added: "When the Liberal Democrats are entrenched in an area it is the devil's own job to get them out.

"Nothing will be easy, this area was part of the 'orange triangle' with Kingston and Richmond - but things are changing.

"One thing I will make clear is that no other parties [than the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats] will win seats. They may influence the outcome in wards, but they will not win seats."

Labour - seats at 2010 election - no seats (although gained a seat after Councillor John Keys defected from Liberal Democrats) - eight per cent of the vote

Sutton Guardian: Councillor joins Labour from Lib Dems after Beddington incinerator concerns

Councillor John Keys

Labour has not won any seats at the last two council elections but have gained a presence on the council since Councillor John Keys defected from the Liberal Democrats over his opposition to plans to build an incinerator in his Beddington ward.

In this year's election he is not standing in Beddington North but in St Helier instead - an area where Labour is optimistic of making inroads.

This year the Labour Party has 54 candidates spread over every borough for the first time in several years.

Coun Keys said: "The areas we're campaigning on are sorting out Sutton Housing Partnership, we've got the bedroom tax and the cost of living crisis that are affecting people all over Sutton, the incinerator for people in Beddington and Wandle Valley.

"We're hoping to make gains around Wandle Valley, Beddington North, St Helier, Sutton Central.

"When the Liberal Democrats [nationally] went into coalition with the Tories and broke the promise over tuition fees it damaged them, and then there's clause 119.

"If we able to win seats we will be able Labour values into the council. If we had that up to now it would have meant we could have had a proper debate on the incinerator. It would make it a lot easier for people to have a voice on the council and stop things being passed with just a nod from the Liberal Democrats."

Could the rise of UKIP and other smaller parties make a big difference?

In the last council election in 2010, parties other than the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives and Labour polled less than six per cent of the vote.

But this year, experts predict that will change thanks to the influence of the rising popularity of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the influence of other parties fielding candidates including the newly formed Keep Our St Helier Hospital (KOSHH) party and the Green Party.

In 2010, UKIP polled less than one per cent of the vote, but since then the party has increased in popularity. This year UKIP has 19 candidates standing and its local manifesto claims the party will reduce council tax, retain weekly bin collections and review traffic calming measures.

Among UKIP's candidates is prospective MP Bill Main-Ian, who will be standing in Beddington South.

The Green Party is fielding 18 candidates and one of its main campaign points is opposition to the plans to build an incinerator in Beddington.

KOSHH is a single issue party aiming to raise awareness of the threats facing St Helier Hospital. It is fielding four candidates around the borough.

Left wing organisation Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has four candidates standing. Its main policy is an objection to any council cuts.

Richard Edmonds is standing as an independent councillor in Worcester Park, although he has previously been affiliated with far right group the National Front, which is not fielding any candidates at this year's elections.

He said his main campaign point is opposition to plans to open a mosque in Worcester Park.

Nationalist party the English Democrats have one candidate, as does the Christian Peoples Alliance Party.