Wednesday, 1 December 2010

By-Election Preview (2nd December)

In addition yesterday's by-election in Ceredigion there are three more taking place this week. There are two top-tier by-elections tomorrow and one District, with the Conservatives defending two and Labour one. Barring the 16th December Thursdays this month are going to be quite quiet…

I'll start in St Helens (Merseyside) with the second by-election to be held for this Metropolitan Council since the General Election. In October, Labour held the Billinge & Seneley Green ward comfortably and they are the defending party again tomorrow. The by-election in the Haydock ward has been called following the death of Cllr. Jim Caunce. He was 92 and had held the seat for over 50 years, making him one of the longest serving Councillors in country. Caunce won re-election in 2008 with a majority of 303 showing this seat isn't one of the safest in the country. In fact, Caunce was the only Labour Councillor for Haydock for four years before Labour gained one of the other two seats from the Liberal Democrats in May. The Lib Dems managed to secure an 800 vote majority in 2007 and the General Election turnout contributed to Labour's victory in May. Eric Sheldon was the defeated Liberal Democrat earlier in the year and he had held his seat since 2004. He's contesting this by-election for his party and will be hoping to buck the national trend to regain his seat. It'll be a tough ask as Labour have been enjoying swings towards them from May's results, so if the Lib Dems hold their own it would be an impressive result for Sheldon. Labour will have a majority of 8 on the 48 seat Council if they win tomorrow.

Haydock (St Helens)





Anthony Burns (LAB)




Eric Sheldon (LD)




John Cunliffe (CON)




James Winstanley (BNP)




The other top tier by-election tomorrow is for the Poole Unitary Authority (Dorset). This is another Council which have filled a vacancy since May, with the Liberal Democrats comfortably holding the Newtown ward in September. This by-election is taking place for the Poole Town ward following the death of Conservative Councillor, and Leader of the Council, Brian Leverett. In 2007 Leverett was one of three Conservatives easily elected, with the Liberal Democrats a long way back in second. If the Tories hold the seat, as expected, they will have as a majority of 4 on the 42 seat Council.

Poole Town (Poole)



Tony Reeves (CON)


Peter England (LD)


Avril King (UKIP)


Jason Sanderson (LAB)




William Kimmet (BNP)


Mark Howell (PP)


The only District Council vacancy to be filled this week is on the Rugby Borough Council (Warwickshire). The Dunchurch & Kightlow ward is up for grabs following the resignation of the sitting Conservative Councillor for personal reasons. Although the Conservatives hold two of the three seats in this ward and the Liberal Democrats have the last. In 2008 they secured the second seat in a double vacancy, but the Tories won in May with a swing towards them. Despite their poor performances in urban wards the Lib Dems haven't been doing too badly in rural contests against the Conservatives. Therefore, this seat is the most likely of the three to change hands - although I am expecting another week of holds. The Tories will have a majority of 8 on the 48 seat Council if they hang on tomorrow.

Live tweeting as usual tomorrow night.


  1. The Rugby ward is in fact a split ward and Libdems have one seat . the election in 2008 was a double vacancy and the result was almost a tie with Conservatives and Libdems taking one seat each .

  2. Thanks Mark. I'll amend accordingly.

    Labour held in St Helens and the Conservatives held in Rugby. No word on the Poole result yet. I'll tweet that out this evening; blog post tomorrow morning.

  3. Poole - local party (Poole People) gain from Con.

  4. Poole People 462 (33.2% +33.2)
    Conservative 438 (31.7% -15.4)
    Lib Dem 214 (15.5% -2.8)
    Labour 201 (14.5% +1.4)
    UKIP 35 (2.5% -11.7)
    BNP 32 (2.3% +2.3)
    Turnout 17.32%

  5. Now that is an interesting result! Thanks for posting it Lewis.

  6. I've just found this blog, so hello.

    Firstly I can't get over the fact a Councillor had a seat for 50

    I did not expect the Poole result, but that's local elections for you.

    Next week looks interesting. If Bewswey and Whitecross, Warrington goes from LD to Lab (in 2010 Lab took more than 50% in this ward) then it is one seat short of taking the Council.