So here we are. Three days before Christmas and previewing the last by-election of 2010. One thing I doubt we'll see is a high turnout!
The vacancy is for the Sawbridgeworth ward on the East Hertfordshire District Council. This is the second by-election for this Council in two months and they were caused by the resignation of two Independents, who were husband and wife. Nigel & Deborah Clark felt they were unable to fulfil their manifesto commitment to 'get more answers' from the Conservative led administration. The Tories hold 42 if the 50 seats on the Council and the Clark's feel this is damaging local democracy. Their resignations were intended as a statement and they have pledged to spend the next few months 'enlightening residents about what's been going on'.
This by-election is for Nigel's old seat where in 2007 he snatched third place from a Conservative in this three member ward. The Tories hold the other two seats and the figures would suggest that this seat is there for the taking. However, an Independent won Deborah's seat in early November so the Conservatives won't have an easy ride. The Independent candidate Eric Buckmaster is the Sawbridgeworth Mayor so he is likely to have a personal vote himself. The weather and the proximity to Christmas should favour the Tories, who will have more manpower to get their vote out, but Buckmaster is in with a shout.
Sawbridgeworth (East Herts.)
William Mortimer (CON)
Eric Buckmaster (IND)
Michael Shaw (LD)
Peter Mitchell (LAB)