Wednesday, 21 July 2010

By-Election Preview (22nd July)

Tomorrow will be another busy night for local by-elections as for the second week running there will be fourteen taking place across the country. I'm previewing the five top-tier polls, none of which are taking place under controversial circumstances, and there are also four District level and five Town/Parish Council by-elections. Voters in London and Wales will again be heading to their polling stations as both regions continue to provide regular by-elections to cover. The other two top-tier elections are taking place in the Unitary Authorities of West Berkshire and Torbay.

I'll start in London where Frognal & Fitzjohns will become the second ward in Camden to hold a vote since the full Council was elected on the same day as the General Election. At the end of May the Liberal Democrats made amends for their poor performance in London earlier in the month by taking all three seats in the deferred election in Haverstock Ward. In tomorrow's election, which is being held due to the death of the Conservative Cllr. Mike Davies, the Lib Dems are again the main challengers. However, it will take a big swing to gain this seat from the Tories and their recent polling and by-election performances would suggest this is out of their reach.

There's a similar situation in Kensington & Chelsea where Tory Cllr. Joan Hanham became Baroness Hanham to take up a ministerial position in the new Government. This has left her Council seat in the Holland Ward up for grabs, but the Lib Dems are even further away here than they are in Camden. What could work in their favour is the furore surrounding the resignations of two other Conservative Councillors in the Borough. We'll have a closer look at Barry Phelps and Mark Daley when their seats are due to filled in two months time, but the local Conservative party will be hoping the e-mail scandal doesn't result in electoral loses. Both the Greens and Labour fielded candidates in May but neither will be for this by-election so there is certainly potential for a upset.

We head to South Wales again where there will be an election to fill a vacancy in the Cymmer Ward of the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council. This will be the fifth by-election in Wales since May and it is being held following the death of Labour Cllr. Eurwen Davies. Labour have won all three they have stood in, but they are defending a majority of just 3.8% against Plaid Cymru tomorrow. This will complicated by the fact the Conservatives and the Greens will be running candidates when they didn't in 2008, and they will also be an Independent on the ballot. This looks like it could competitive.

The by-election in West Berkshire may also be close as the national coalition partners go head-to-head in the Thatcham South and Crookham Ward. Liberal Democrat Cllr. Terry Port carried a majority of just 5.4% in 2007 but he has decided to retire a year before the end of his term. Only the Lib Dems and the Conservatives put up candidates in this ward three years ago and voters will face the same choice tomorrow. The Lib Dems could do with a moral boosting hold, although the Conservatives are comfortably in control of the Council.

Finally, the death of Conservative Cllr. Stuart John has left a vacancy on the Torbay Council. The Conservatives enjoy comfortable majorities over the Lib Dems in both the St. Mary's with Summercombe ward they're defending and on the Council. Therefore, a surprise gain won't change much ahead of next year's full election.

Frog. & Fitz. (Camden)


Holland (Ken. & Chel.)






Gio Spinella (CON)



Rock Feilding-Mellen (CON)


David Bouchier (LD)



Martin Wilson (LD)


Jack Smith (LAB)





Charles Harris (GRN)






Jack Bovill (IND)



Cymmer (RCT)


St. Mary's w/ Summer. (Torbay)






Chris Williams (LAB)



Nicholas Henderson (CON)


Nicole Griffiths (PC)



Andrew Baldrey (LD)


Steven Rogers (CON)





Kevin Jakeway (GRN)



Rosemary Clarke (LAB)


Paul Wasley (IND)



Jen Walsh (UKIP)



Thatch. S & Crook. (W Berk.)





Robert Morgan (LD)



Dominic Boeck (CON)



Elsewhere, the following by-elections will be taking place: Great Cornard North, Babergh District Council (Suffolk); Nethermayne, Basildon District Council (Essex); Kidlington North, Cherwell District Council (Oxfordshire); Warwick South, Warwick District Council; Bridge, Lewes Town Council (East Sussex); Rhydyfelin Ilan, Pontypridd Town Council (Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales); Thatcham South & Crookham, Thatcham Town Council (Berkshire); St Germans, St Germans Parish Council (Cornwall); St Mary's with Summercombe, Brixham Parish Council (Devon).

1 comment:

  1. Liberal Democrats held Thatcham South and Crookham and gained St Mary's with Summercombe from the Conservatives on a 20.2% swing. The Conservatives held Holland and Frognal & Fitzjohns. Labour held Cymmer.

    BlogPost will be up tomorrow evening with more deatils.