Wednesday, 14 July 2010

By-Election Preview (15th July)

Thursday's a busy night for local by-elections with four in top-tier Councils as well as five in non-metropolitan District Councils and a further five in Town and Parish Councils. Of the top-tier elections the one in Gwynedd is possibly the most interesting due to the bizarre circumstances that have led to it, but the Greens will need a good showing to hold on to the ward they're defending on Leicester City Council. The by-elections in Surrey and Walsall are for seats the Conservatives are defending.

So I'll start in Wales where Llais Gwynedd (The Voice of Gwynedd) will be defending the Diffwys & Maenofferen ward on the Gwynedd County Council. The by-election is being held because the sitting Councillor resigned following his arrest for attacking his wife. The ex-Councillor pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four and a half years in jail. This vote is very significant to the shape of the Council as it is currently run by a minority Plaid Cymru administration. Their group holds 35 of the 75 seats on the Council but they are in a very good position to gain this seat considering the circumstances. Plaid Cymru require a swing of just over 4% to take this ward and, as there is another vacancy on the Council, they would be just one vote short of a majority. The by-election to fill this other vacancy has not been arranged yet, and it will be harder for the Welsh nationalists to win, but they certainly had incentive to try and win tomorrow night.

Hot on the heels of the Green Party's by-election victory in Brighton last week they will be defending another Council seat, this time in Leicester. Sadly, this is due to the death of the sitting Councillor, Phil Gordon, who died on his other job as a tree surgeon. The Greens will be defending a majority of 9% which will be tough against a resurgent Labour Party. Last September there was a by-election to replace the other Green Councillor elected in 2007 as Matt Follett had to move because of work and family commitments. Labour managed a 6.9% swing to take the seat and they'll be looking for a similar result tomorrow.

In Surrey the death of the Conservative Cllr. Mike Nevins has led to a by-election for the Worplesdon Ward on the County Council. The Tories have a large majority on the Council with 54 of 80 seats. If Nigel Sutcliffe fails to defend the seat against the Liberal Democrats it will be nothing more than a moral blow. Paul Cragg was the Lib Dems' candidate in 2009 and he'll be attempting to gain the seat again tomorrow.

Finally, the Tories are also defending the Bloxwich West on the Walsall Council following the death of Cllr. Melvin Pitt. The ward is solidly Conservative so they shouldn't have much of a problem. Their majority on the Council isn't that solid as they hold 34 of the 60 seats. However, it's difficult to see where a successful challenge will come from so I expect the local Conservatives are not unduly worried.

Diff & Maef (Gwynedd)


Castle (Leicester)






Richard Lloyd Jones (LG)



Mo Taylor (GRN)


Paul Thomas (PC)



Neil Clayton (LAB)





Troy Lavers (LD)



Owen Jones (CON)






Gareth Henry (LIB)



David Bowley (IND)



Roy Rudham (ED)



Worplesdon (Surrey)


Bloxwich W (Walsall)






Nigel Sutcliffe (CON)



Teresa Smith (CON)


Paul Cragg (LD)



Fred Westley (LAB)


Mazhar Manzoor (UKIP)





Martin Phillips (LAB)



Paul Valdmanis (UKIP


John Morris (Peace Party)



Christine Cockayne (LD)



Zoe Henderson (GRN)



The following by-elections are also taking place tomorrow: Pirbright, Guildford Borough Council (Surrey); Corfe Mullen South, East Dorset District Council; Riversway, Preston City Council (Lancashire); Wheatley, Rochford District Council (Essex); Greater Marlow, Wycombe District Council (Buckinghamshire); Pilton and Central Town, Barnstaple Town Council (Devon); King James, Knaresborough Town Council (North Yorkshire); Worral and Oughtibridge, Bradfield Parish Council (South Yorkshire).


  1. Llais Gwynedd held Diffwys & Maenofferen, The COnservatives held Worplesdon, Labour gained Bloxwich West (swing 26.4%) and Labour gained Castle (swing 8%).

    For slightly more detailed results check out our twitter feed:

    Round-up blog post to follow tomorrow...

  2. Thats a v.good result in Walsall,wonder what the reasons for the large swing were?

  3. Well, in this May's election (which I forgot to check :-( ) Labour did quite a bit better in this ward, losing by just over 300 votes. And it would appear one of the local school's refurbishment has been cancelled in the BFS cuts. Still an excellent result for Labour though.