Wednesday, 6 October 2010

By-Election Preview (7th October)

We kick off another busy month of by-elections with a night dominated by District Council vacancies. There are only two top-tier seats up for grabs tomorrow, but seven District and two Town Council by-elections are also taking place. I'll pick out a couple of the interesting ones today to pad out this post as the two top-tier elections aren't the most interesting from a national perspective. There is the third post General Election by-election in the Welsh County Council of Gwynedd and another for a safe Conservative ward in West Sussex.

The Gwynedd by-election will be of interest to those in North West Wales as the minority Plaid Cymru administration which runs the Council has another chance to pick up a seat. They began the year holding 35 of the 75 seats on the Council but spurned a chance to add to that tally in July in what appeared to be very favourable circumstances. A Councillor from the local Independent party Llais Gwynedd (Voice of Gwynedd) resigned in disgrace in a seat Plaid required just a 4% swing to gain. However, they lost by just four votes. A week later another Llais Gwynedd Councillor resigned and last week Plaid successfully gained this seat. They now have a third opportunity to inch towards a majority with this week's by-election, taking place in the Seiont ward following the death of Independent Cllr. Bob Anderson. This is a tough by-election to predict as there does not appear to be a natural heir to Anderson as an Independent, although there is a candidate of no description standing. This leaves the race fairly open, with Labour as the favourites having come second in 2007. But with so much uncertainly as to how Anderson's supporters will vote it will be interesting to see who wins this one.

Seiont (Gwynedd)





Tecwyn Thomas (LAB)


Menna Thomas (PC)


Llinos Thimas (CON)


James Cooke (LG)


Gareth Edwards (IND)


In West Sussex, the Maidenbower ward is vacant following the election of the sitting Conservative Councillor Henry Smith as the new MP for Crawley. As Smith secured over 70% of the vote in 2009 it's hard to imagine the Tories not holding this one! There is also a seat up for grabs on Crawley Borough Council (West Sussex - not related to the County vacancy) which is a little more interesting. Labour need a 3% swing to gain the Tilgate ward from the Conservatives. Labour have been performing well in by-elections over the summer, but they have been much less successful in the south so it could go either way.

Maidenbower (W Sussex)



Robert Lanzer (CON)


Peter Smith (LAB)


Sulu Pandya (LD)


John MacCanna (UKIP)


Arshad Khan (JP)


Labour also have another good opportunity to take a Council seat off the Tories in Rossendale (Lancashire). In this case they need a swing of 3.2% to gain the vacant Irwell ward. However, there is another by-election taking place for this Council tomorrow which is in a seat Labour are defending. Labour narrowly won Healey & Whitworth in 2007, which is the term this by-election is for, from the Conservatives but in 2006 and 2010 an Independent candidate, Ronald Alan Neal, won this ward. In 2010 Neal stood under the Community First label and they are fielding a candidate for this by-election. This means Labour will have to fight off both the Tories and the local Independents to hold the seat, which could harm their chances of gaining Irwell.

In another by-election for a District Council in Lancashire, Labour have wasted an opportunity to gain a seat. In 2003, they won all three in the multi-member Harbour ward, Lancaster City Council but in 2007 the Morecombe Bay Independents gained one of them. The death of the Independent party's Councillor has left a vacancy in this ward; however they failed to get their candidate on the ballot. Elsewhere the Liberal Democrats are defending Saxondale, Blaby DC (Leicestershire) and St James', Tunbridge Wells BC (Kent), and the Conservatives are defending Tithebarn, Wyre BC (Lancashire). On paper these look like easily defendable seats. Finally, there are Town Council by-elections taking place for Conygre, Filton TC (Gloucestershire) and Castle, Oswestry TC (Shropshire).


  1. The Harbour Ward by-election in Lancaster would be a tough fight for Labour if they were fielding a candidate, but they're not.

  2. Thanks know I knew that too!!!

    Updated accordingly.