Wednesday, 15 June 2011

By-Election Preview (16th June): English Edition

We are in a busy period for by-elections at the moment and tomorrow there are no less than 10 taking place. To try and help cut down the amount of words in one BlogPost I'm just covering the English contests in this article and a separate post covering the Welsh and Scottish vacancies will follow shortly.

All three of the main parties are defending seats in countermanded and by- elections and with most of the vacancies in the North and the Midlands. As has been the norm in recent months the focus is bound to be on how the Liberal Democrats fare in seats they have held in recent years but some of the Conservative and Labour wards have interesting histories.

I'll start in Derbyshire where Labour are defending the Eckington ward following the resignation of Cllr. Steve Pickering because he had taken a politically restrictive position. In 2009 Pickering won his seat by just over 100 votes from a popular Independent candidate Jenny Booth, who was attempting to step up from the North East Derbyshire District Council. Booth isn't standing in this by-election and with the Liberal Democrats also sitting this one out as well Labour are in a straight fight with the Tories to hold this seat.

Pickering initially won his Council seat in a 2008 by-election and on that occasion the Conservatives were Labour's nearest rivals. There is enough to suggest that the Conservatives could be competitive, especially as two in five voters from the 2009 election will be unable to vote for the same candidate/party. However, Labour won previous elections in this ward comfortably and they should be able to win any by-election in wards they held on to during the last few years of the last Government.

If Labour win this they will cut the Conservative's majority on the Council down to just three with another by-election scheduled in three weeks time. That vacancy has arisen following the death of an Independent Councillor and both Labour and the Tories will be looking for a victory on this competitive Council.

Derbyshire County Council

CON

LAB

LD

VAC

33

21

8

2

Eckington

By-Election Candidate

2009

Brian Ridgway (Lab)

35.5%

N/C (Ind)

30.9%

Carolyn Renwick (Con)

23.7%

N/C (LD)

9.9%

Labour are also defending a seat across the Midlands in Staffordshire. The Burton Town ward is up for grabs following the resignation of Cllr. Peter Beresford due to ill health. In 2009 Beresford held his seat with barely a third of the vote with the Liberal Democrat candidate Michael Rodgers emerging as his nearest challenger. Rodgers is running again for his party but the political landscape isn't as favourable as it was two years ago so a gain seems unlikely.

The Conservatives have a big majority on the Council so the result won't affect balance of power on the Council. Incidentally, we will also be returning to Staffordshire on 7th July when the Conservatives will be defending a seat following a death of a sitting Councillor.

Burton Town (Staffordshire)

By-Election Candidate

2009

Ron Clarke (Lab)

34.4%

Michael Rodgers (LD)

27.7%

Ahmet Orta (Con)

22.8%

N/C (BNP)

15.1%

Peter McGuiggan (UKIP)

-

The final by-election taking place this week is for the Rochford District Council (Essex). The vacancy has arisen due to the death of Conservative Councillor Peter Robinson. He won his seat comfortably in 2008 but the subsequent two elections in this ward have not been as easy for the Tories. In 2010 they suffered a shock defeat to the Green Party as their candidate Michael Hoy won by a margin of 144 votes.

They were unable to repeat the feat this year as they slipped to third place behind an English Democrat. Bizarrely, despite their strong showing last month the English Democrats are not fighting this by-election. The Green candidate for this contest is Michael Hoy's wife Diane and they are talking up their chances of challenging the Conservatives. With an unpredictable recent history there is potential for a surprise result but either way the Conservatives will still enjoy a large majority on the Council following this by-election.

Hullbridge (Rochford)

By-Election Candidate

2011

2010

2008

Mark Hale (Con)

42.0%

35.6%

58.3%

N/C (ED)

22.9%

12.2%

-

Diane Hoy (Grn)

18.0%

39.5%

-

Angelina Marriott (Lab)

17.1%

12.8%

16.9%

N/C (BNP)

-

-

24.9%

Carl Whitwell (UKIP)

-

-

-

On to the elections postponed from May 5th and I'll start in the North West. The poll in Crewe South, Cheshire East Council (Unitary) was called off following the death of the sitting Liberal Democrat Councillor Betty Howell, who was seeking re-election. The last full Council elections took place in 2008 and Howell came second behind a Lib Dem colleague to take one of the three seats on offer. Since then there have been boundary changes have taken place and the number of Councillors in Cheshire East has decreased by one to 81.

The effects of the boundary review were, as far as I can tell (see comments), minimal to Crewe South but this ward has lost a seat, becoming a two member ward. In addition to Robert Icke replacing Howell as one of the Liberal Democrats contesting this ward, the Conservatives have replaced both of their original candidates for this contest. In the full Council elections last month Labour were the big gainers in Cheshire East, picking up 9 seats across the Council. They will be looking to add to that tomorrow having already held one of the three seats during the last term. However, as the Conservatives hold 52 of the 81 seats their majority is not at risk whatever the result.

Crewe South (Cheshire East)

By-Election Candidate

2008

Robert Icke (LD)

42.8%

Lisa Smith (LD)

Dorothy Hilda (Lab)

34.1%

Steven Hogben (Lab)

Jubeyar Ahmed (Con)

17.4%

Steve Turnbull (Con)

N/C (Ind)

5.8%

In Newcastle-upon-Tyne there are two wards holding countermanded elections from May 5th. The Liberal Democrat candidate Neil Hamilton defending the Westerhope seat for his party died on polling day, rendering the election null and void. The ward seemed fairly safe for the Liberal Democrats in 2007 and 2008 as they secured over half the vote in both years. However, Hamilton himself lost his seat last year on the General Election turnout and he would have struggled to gain it back on May 5th. Labour gained 10 seats from the Lib Dems last month to take control of the Council. Their majority of ten is not under threat however these two postponed elections pan out.

The other countermanded election in Newcastle is in the Byker ward following the death of the Conservative candidate Alice Gingell a week before polling day. Byker is a safe Labour ward and Veronica Dunn should win another term.

Newcastle City Council

Lab

LD

Ind

Vac

43

32

1

2

Byker

 

Westerhope

By-Election Candidate

2010

2008

2007

 

By-Election Candidate

2010

2008

2007

Veronica Dunn (Lab)

57.7%

56.5%

60.5%

 

Linda Hobson (Lab)

36.5%

21.7%

24.7%

Tracy Connell (LD)

24.3%

16.9%

19.9%

 

P J Morrissey (LD)

33.0%

53.5%

54.7%

James Bartle (Con)

9.2%

9.3%

8.7%

 

William Holloway (Con)

24.3%

16.7%

14.1%

N/C (Ind)

-

4.4%

-

 

Anita Cooper (BNP)

6.2%

8.0%

6.4%

Ken Booth (BNP)

8.8%

12.8%

11.0%

 

Pat Hillicks (Ind)

-

-

-

Alan Mattinson (Ind)

-

-

-

 

Ernie Shorton (New-1st)

-

-

-

Angela McKenna (New-1st)

-

-

-

     

The final countermanded election is taking place for Rushcliffe Borough Council (Nottinghamshire). The poll was postponed following the death of sitting Conservative Councillor Wally Smith, who was seeking re-election. The ward, and the Council, are both heavily Tory and I wouldn't expect any surprises in this straight fight between them and Labour. David Smith has replaced Wally Smith as the Tory candidate. Two seats are to be filled.

Manvers (Rushcliffe)

By-Election Candidate

2007

Eddy Fearon (Con)

74.4%

David Smith (Con)

Pam Thompson (Lab)

25.6%

John Thorn (Lab)


 

TH

4 comments:

  1. I have not looked at it myself but a local Crewe poster on the Vote 2007 site says the boundary changes in Crewe South are quite major .

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy to stand corrected there Mark. I spent quite a while looking at the published documents on the review but couldn't work out exactly what had changed in Crewe South.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Perhaps you should have mentioned that in Newcastle Westerhope , the Independent candidate , Pat Hillick , is in fact the defending councillor originally elected as a LibDem . It is one of those cases where it is arguable whether it would be a Labour gain from Independent or LibDem should Labour win as expected .

    ReplyDelete
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