HE Labour Party in Buckinghamshire says it is determined to improve its poor position on the county council in May's elections.

Only five of the 54 councillors on Buckinghamshire County Council are Labour and all represent High Wycombe wards. There are 38 Conservatives, ten Liberal Democrats and one Independent.

On Saturday, the Labour group introduced some of its candidates at a photocall at Chesham where it launched its manifesto.

Among its promises is a pledge to fight to get rid of the county's 13 grammar schools, which the ruling Conservative group is equally determined to keep.

Other Labour statements on health, education, transport and the care of older and disabled people are not much different from their rivals, but they promise to do much better and with conviction.

The manifesto claims almost everything the Conservatives have done for Bucks has been the result of being forced to do so either by the Labour government, or by the pressure of public opinion and Labour councillors.

Cllr Trevor Fowler, group leader, said he didn't know why his party failed do better in 1997, when the county election was on the same day as the general election which brought Labour into power with a huge majority.

"We thought we should do much better," said Cllr Fowler.

He said it was time to capture all the High Wycombe seats and pick up some in Aylesbury, which is totally Lib Dem dominated.

One person standing in Aylesbury for Labour is likely to be former Bucks Free Press reporter Anne Edwards who covered the county council.

And among those standing in High Wycombe are mother and daughter Clare Martens and Rilla Knight.

Cllr Martens won Marsh and Micklefield after the death of the former Labour group leader, John Huddart.

Ms Knight, a 29-year-old mother-of-three, is standing in Green Hill and Totteridge.

The Labour launch was attended by three of Labour's local parliamentary prospective candidates, Ken Hulme (Amersham and Chesham), Chauhdry Shafique (Wycombe) and Keith White (Aylesbury)

Mr Hulme, chairman of the county branch, urged the council candidates to get organised for the fight and make sure the Labour vote was maximised.

He told them, when they went door-knocking, to have at least one subject they could talk knowledgeably about when voters wanted to talk.

And they were warned to take care care with their nominations forms, and get them verified by Labour's regional office well before the deadline. Labour has both failed and gained in previous elections by parties not getting their forms in.