Thursday, 13 January 2011

By-Election Preview (13th January)

The main event tomorrow is quite clearly the Oldham East & Saddleworth by-election, but there are also a couple of County Council vacancies to be filled. By-elections are taking place in Cornwall and Norfolk and in both cases the Conservatives will be the defending party following a resignation.

The Cornwall vacancy is possibly as close as we've come to a local by-election since setting up this site, although you know you're from Cornwall when 'local' is an hour and a half drive away! The Camborne North ward is also the most interesting out of the two to be contested tomorrow. The vacancy has been caused by the resignation of Bill Jenkin who was elected as a Conservative in 2009 but has since been sitting as an Independent. Entirely related to his unaligned status and the resignation, the 79-year-old was arrested over sexual assault allegations in August and subsequently resigned as a County Councillor.

The ward was quite easily won by Jenkin 18 months ago but this was largely thanks to an impressively split opposition. He only received 37% of the vote, but as four candidates were stuck between 10-20% it was more than enough to get elected. The Liberal Democrats are likely to be the main challengers given their strength in Cornwall and their second place finish at the last election. They have also adopted an interesting campaign strategy which; essentially stealing Labour's clothing. They have distributed a red leaflet with 'It's Anna or the Tory' featured prominently. This isn't the first time Anna Pascoe has been involved with a controversial leaflet as last year she had to apologise after some unsavoury language found its way into some literature distributed on her behalf.

As last week we saw the Liberal Democrat's poor poll ratings appear to have begun to hurt them in their southern strongholds it's worth looking at the other alternatives available to the Camborne North voters. Conceivably any one of Labour, Mebyon Kernow (Sons of Cornwall), the Liberal Party or the Greens could benefit from a poor Lib Dem performance but as all four on the ballot paper any protest vote is likely to get diluted. Having said that, an unknown factor in this contest is where the previous Independent candidate's vote will go. If it swings behind one party it could cause an upset. The Cornwall Unitary Authority is currently run by a Tory/Independent administration so they could do with the extra seat.

Camborne North (Cornwall)

By-Election Candidate

2009 Result

Denise Pascoe (CON)


Anna Pascoe (LD)




Mike Champion (MK)


Jude Robinson (LAB)


Paul Holmes (LIB)


Jacqueline Merrick (GRN)


In comparison, the by-election for the Humbleyard ward on the Norfolk County Council is a bit more straightforward. The vacancy has arisen following the resignation of Conservative Councillor Daniel Cox. He was the leader of the Tory dominated Council, so it came as a surprise when he announced his decision to stand down to take up volunteer work in India. Cox also held a seat on the South Norfolk District Council but as this is up for election in May no by-election will be held.

In 2009 Cox secured just over half the votes to win his seat, with the Liberal Democrats quite a way behind in second. The Tory candidate Judith Virgo won this seat in a 2006 by-election but she did not stand in the full council elections. Interestingly, the other three candidates who contested this ward 18 months ago have all been reselected to fight this by-election. Regardless, it's hard to find a reason why the Tories won't hold this.

Humbleyard (Norfolk)

By-Election Candidate

2009 Result

Judith Virgo (CON)


Jacky Sutton (LD)


Jan Kitchener (GRN)


Marian Chapman (LAB)


Richard Coke (UKIP)


1 comment:

  1. Camborne North, Cornwall Council (Unitary):

    Jude Robinson (Labour) 239,
    Denise Pascoe (Conservative) 203,
    Anna Pascoe (Liberal Democrat) 156,
    Paul Holmes (Liberal) 61,
    Mike Champion (Mebyon Kernow) 32,
    Jacqueline Merrick (Green) 31.

    Labour GAIN from Conservatives

    Humbleyard, Norfolk County Council:

    Judith Virgo (Conservative) 1015,
    Jacky Sutton (Liberal Democrat) 438,
    Marian Chapman (Labour) 424,
    Jan Kitchener (Green) 176,
    Richard Coke (UKIP) 133.

    Conservative HOLD