FORMER Hart Chairman Peter Carr fired the first shots in next year's council election campaign this week when he hit back at official Tory spokesman Mark Fullbrook who had described him as a "loser" in the recent poll.

Coun. Fullbrook said that Wallace Vincent, his Tory successor, had managed to significantly beat Coun. Carr's 2002 vote total in Courtmoor - despite having had only six weeks to get himself known.

"This left many at the count to ask just what personal vote the long time councillor had managed to build up in his time on the council," Coun. Fullbrook added.

An angry Peter Carr said that if Coun. Fullbrook lived in Fleet he would have realised that last year he faced a strong Independent challenge and that had not been there this year.

"If he is saying I poorly represented the people of Courtmoor over the past 15 years, I find it totally insulting," he declared.

Mr Carr said the independent candidates next year would live in Fleet and Church Crookham - he revealed that he was getting phone calls from people who wanted to be considered for the ticket.

Coun. Fullbrook represents Hartley Wintney despite living in Dogmersfield.

"If anyone in his ward wants to see him, how do they get there?" Mr Carr asked. He said his group would be challenging the existing Conservatives to a public debate in the run-up to next May's poll.

In his post-election press release Coun. Fullbrook played up the Conservative near win at Hawley and Blackwater while dismissing the Liberal Democrat equivalent in Fleet North in one line. His "spin" statement was peppered with spelling mistakes such as "elluded", "acheived" and "jubilent".